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Sharper Edges: Female Artists Shatter Stereotypes

Audrey Handler is known as the grande dame of contemporary glass. As one of the first female glass artists, she helped to break the proverbial glass ceiling for the celebrated women working today.

Audrey Handler, glass artistt

Glass is the ultimate feminine medium, she says, because it is both fragile, yet strong and sharp.

Handler is one of the first female students in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Glass Program and a founding member of the Glass Art Society.

“All of us who started in that program in the 1960s, we just fell in love with glass,” Handler says. “The very idea you could use this incredible, sensual medium that is both hot and cold at the same time, it’s actually a very feminine medium.”

Poster of Audrey Handler in glass studio, 1970s, over one of her many glass pieces

Handler’s latest work is now featured at the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass in Neenah, in a free exhibit titled, Sharper Edges: Women Working on the Edge of Glass. It features a group of regional female artists who incorporate their distinct viewpoints on social issues such as politics, gender biases, stereotypes, consumerism and the environment into their glass sculpture.

A $3,000 grant from the Foundation’s Bright Idea Fund along with a grant from the Dar and Les Stumpf Family Fund is supporting the exhibit’s outreach to give under-served and at-risk young women grades 5-12 the opportunity to meet the artists and create their own expressive art piece.

“We wanted to empower young girls and let them know they can do this, thanks to the strong women who paved the way,” says Jan Smith, executive director, Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass. “This generous grant offers these young women a full circle opportunity to not only encounter artists who have been successful in their field, but have a hands-on experience and understand how glass art got started and what it can become.”

Here are images of just a few in the collection:
(Use the arrows to scroll the images)

Glass Museum Gallery Glass2 Glass3 Glass4 Glass5 Glass6 Glass7
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In addition to Handler, regional exhibiting artists include Beth Lipman of Sheboygan Falls, Stephanie Trenchard of Sturgeon Bay, Deanna Clayton of Door County, Kristi Thielking of Stevens Point and Lisa Koch of Madison.

During January and February, students from local high schools and middle schools are invited to view the exhibit as well as students from Youth Go, Boys’ & Girls’ Brigade and Boys and Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley.

The free exhibit ends February 17, 2019.


You can make the Bright Ideas burn even brighter by adding your support.

Check out our current Bright Idea Fund results from 2018 – 2019!
See how our Bright Idea Fund impacted our community last year.

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