Klaus Moje (1936 – 2016) German Glass Designer

Klaus Moje Glass

Klaus Moje (1936 – 2016) was a German-born Australian glass artist and educator. Moje was the founding workshop head of the Australian National University (ANU) School of Art Glass Workshop in Canberra, Australia.

Biography

Between 1960-61, he worked in industry and crafts and, in 1961, set up a studio with Isbard Moje-Wohlgemuth. 1961-65, he was commissioned to design stained-glass windows for churches, public buildings, and restoration projects. 1969โ€”73, he was a representative of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft des Deutschen Kunst- handwerks at the World Crafts Council and became a member of the board of directors. In 1976, he became a founding member of Hamburg’s Galerie der Kunsthandwerker (formerly Workshop Galerie). From 1979, he was a guest lecturer at the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington; Kunsthandverkerskolen, Copenhagen; Middlesex Polytechnic, London; California College of Arts and Crafts; and Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam. In 1982, he set up the glass workshop, of which he was head, at the Canberra School of Art.

Fused Glass

Around 1975, Moje began cutting the rods into thin wafers or strips and fusing them in a kiln. The pieces would then be cut again and re-fused to create rhythmic patterns of vibrant colour. In 1976, Moje returned to Hamburg after living in Danzinger Strasse. Moje became a founding member of Galerie der Kunsthandwerker, and in 1978 through 1982, he was a member of the Jury of Arbeitsgemeinschaft des Deutschen Kunsthandwerks. Meanwhile, Moje continued working with the glass rods. The process was fraught with failure caused by the material. Many of the glass colours were incompatible, causing the work to break in the kiln or even after the firing process had finished. The work that did survive was often heavily devitrified. Moje’s background as a glass cutter came to the fore as he had to carve away the contaminated surface to reveal the colour he desired.

Pilchuck Glass School

In 1979, Moje was invited to be a guest lecturer at the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington. The school, started by Dale Chihuly, was geared mainly toward glassblowing, but Moje gave a talk about his recent fused glassworks. He discussed the issues he was having with the material and lamented that the factory that had been making the rods was planning to cease production when the master who knew the formula to make them retired. Moje was looking for a glass manufacturer that could make a broad palette of coloured glass and help with the incompatibility and devitrification problems he was experiencing. One of his students at Pilchuck was Boyce Lundstrom.

Bullseye

A few years before Moje’s visit to Pilchuck, Boyce Lundstrom and his partner Dan Schwoerer had started making coloured glass for the growing stained glass market. Based in Portland, Oregon, Bullseye Glass was the “day job” for the self-described “hippy glassblowers.” Schwoerer and Lundstrom were intrigued by Moje’s work and invited him to the factory (really just a house in SE Portland). During that visit, Schwoerer and Lundstrom promised Moje to develop a glass specifically for fusing. 

Portland Panels

Bruce Guenther, Portland Art Museum’s chief curator, was looking for a new piece to become a significant focal point for a retrospective of Moje’s work. The resulting work was a suite of four panels “Choreographed Geometry,” also known as the “Portland Panels.” This work was created at the Bullseye Factory and was constructed from thousands of hand-cut glass strips; each panel measures 6 ร— 4 feet.

The retrospective at the Portland Art Museum was quickly followed in 2009 by Klaus Moje’s retrospective: Painting with Glass at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. The Portland Panels were acquired in 2015 by the Corning Museum of Glass and are on permanent display there.

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Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing. https://amzn.to/3ElmSlL

Wikipedia contributors. (2021, October 28). Klaus Moje. Inย Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:24, December 2, 2021, fromย https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Klaus_Moje&oldid=1052321391

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