Thursday, September 8, 2011

Steuben No More, Say NO!

The Cornell Daily sun reported today, September 8, 2011, that Steuben, the 100 plus year old American Crystal factory will close later this year.
In the press release, the company said its sole factory and a store, both located on the Corning Museum of Glass campus, will close Nov. 29
The flagship store in NYC will close when it's inventory is sold.
What a shock. I can hardly think. I know the costs involved in keeping the furnaces stoked. The increase in energy, materials, chemicals, transportation, labor, benefits, safety, and gosh what else? I know the drop offs in sales. Don't we all know the drop off in sales of objects of beauty for the American home?
It is truly an American Art Glass Armegedon. Nobody can imagine an American art glass scene without Corning New York's iconic century old lead crystal factory curning out those one of a kind designer works by visiting artists and the usual cigar ash trays, trumpet flower vases and the like. The polishing room there was as close as we, Americans got to a traditonal glass works where there were actual highly skilled glass finishers working daily on loads of fabulous flawless objects d'arte. The blowers were on a par with many other countries, it was in the melting and the polishing that Steuben in the later half of the 20th Century excelled.
It's all too much for me. I have to go and chill now.


SMA said...

Another typical story from Obomonomics.

C&H Glassworks said...

This is shocking--and sad.

As you--and the people in the original article pointed out--there's definitely a market shift happening, away from spending on fine art. Which is such a shame considering how much more prevalent glassblowing is becoming in the American pop-culture psyche. (How many books/movies have you read/seen recently that include a glassblower to up the coolness?)

Let's hope we--the small hot glass studios sprinkled around the country--can survive the Armageddon.

SMA said...

In Maine, hand crafted manufacturing is not included in "the targeted sector", which gets all the sweet deals, benefits, and tax breaks. By default handcrafted manufacturing is delegated to "the un-trageted sector", which gets taxation without representation.

This is achieved through reams and reams of legislation written over the decades to then benefit of "the targeted sector" which is also called "the innovative" or "creative " economy. Simply put- hand craft is not "high tech" and does not represent "concentrated wealth" in the eyes of our legislature.

Since Maine follows in the wake of legislation written by other states, it is true outside of Maine as well. I took it upon myself to read the legislation that has been passed and to blog about it- but each new bill is more sickening than the last and I am wondering where we can grow our business in the future. Our ceramic art and design has been strongly identified with Maine since 1952 but now I feel it is insane to try to grow a handcrafted business in the state of Maine.