RISD Glass

Research initiatives


Fall 18

In this studio/seminar, co-taught by a RISD artist and a Brown historian, we will examine how material attains meaning. Through demonstrations, workshops, lectures, and hands-on making, we will explore instruments used to understand materials in 16th and 17th-century Europe (e.g. microscopes, alchemical alembics, printed books). We will also consider how those devices have inspired contemporary art practice. Final projects, which may take a variety of forms, will interrogate the relationship between matter and the devices used to understand it.


Optics Research
Spring 18

This research group was organized around the theoretical and technological aspects of Optics with an emphasis on its relationship to Glass. We explored the implications of Optics in realms such as; projection, magnification, perception, imaging, as well as, its role in media. Both historical and contemporary content and approaches were encouraged. The group met weekly for discussion, lectures, "hands-on" experiments and material investigations. While lectures and demonstrations were conducted by faculty and special visitors, the direction of our research from week to week was driven by the research that the group brought forth.


Alchemy research
Fall 17 & spring 19

This is a semester long research study group focused on Alchemy and Glass. As a discipline and a material, Glass is inherently connected to Alchemy. Their combined histories have shaped our understanding of the relationship between material and meaning, the role of process in art and science and, ultimately, the ways in which making shapes knowledge. One of the goals of this research group is to explore the conceptual and material potential of Alchemy through Glass. Our research combines the examination of practical, theoretical and historical texts along with "hands-on" experiments in Glass Department Shops. The group meets weekly for discussions, research presentations, lectures and working/lab sessions. As the semester progresses the direction of our research is determined by the materials brought forth by the group.

Current Investigations in Research Initiatives