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Glass with Sass: Fierce Wearable Art To Strut Down TMA Catwalk at Glass Alive Benefit Fashion Show – Toledo City Paper

Ask any fashion addict – it’s not just about a love for clothes. It’s about self-expression. Fashion as wearable art. This month, the art will be placed on a model and sent down the runway at the upcoming gala, Glass Alive! Celebrating a Decade.
The event, which celebrates the Glass Pavilion’s 10th anniversary, will feature a much-anticipated Glass Fashion show, curated by internationally renowned glass artist, Laura Donefer. The pieces, though worthy of an avant garde Rodarte or McQueen catwalk, are designed by Ms. Donefer and artists from all around the country. The show will provide a moving display of 35 unique wearable glass pieces.
A love for the Glass City
Ms. Donefer is based in Canada, but has a close relationship with the city of Toledo. “I love the Glass Pavilion! Six years ago, I was the GAPP (Guest Artist Pavilion Project) artist. I was invited to come here by Jutta Page (Curator of Glass and Decorative Arts). The manager of the Glass Pavilion at the time was Jeff Mack and we began a special collaboration. I fell in love with Toledo and all the people here. I don’t have a hot glass shop of my own, so I come here.” Ms. Donefer also teaches workshops at Bowling Green State University.
The concept of a glass fashion show isn’t new to Ms. Donefer either. Four years ago, she curated a glass fashion show for the Glass Arts Society (GAS) in Toledo at the Huntington Center.
Local models, little-known facts
Counted among the participating models in this month’s show are Toledo-based artists (Eli Lipman, Sten Neuber, Ryan Thompson), Museum Director Brian Kennedy, Associate Director Adam Levine, Glass Studio Manager Colleen O’Connor. Studio Technician Chris Demuro, and Laura Donefer’s own mother, who reportedly never misses a glass fashion show!
Glass art is delicate business on its own, but when it’s designed to be worn, durability is everything. “Glass is actually really heavy. One costume weighed well over 100lbs, “ Ms. Donefer said. “The glass needs to be well-attached or it will fall off. We have definitely had people standing to the side, ready to pick up the glass that inevitably falls off.”
What’s it like to walk down a catwalk wearing all that fragile, deceptively weighty glass? “Exhilarating,” exclaimed Ms. Donefer.
Heartfelt creation
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of curating the show for her is that so many artists are so eager to participate. Ms. Donefer is astonished that she has to turn so many hopeful artists away each time. “It never ceases to amaze me how much interest there is! The entries are world-wide, even some as far away as New Zealand.” she said.
The fierce desire to create is what inspires Donefer to keep curating this show, year after year. “I’m amazed at the inventiveness of the costumes and the sheer joy and abandon on stage. The most liberated people are in glass…and sometimes they show up wearing very little!” All artists, including Donefer herself, operate on a completely volunteer basis. It is the love of the art form that sustains them.
Black tie optional; open to the public.
7pm Saturday, October 22.
$125/TMA members, $150/non-members.
The Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion,
2445 Monroe St., 419-255-8000.