The Collectors Show (www.webtalkradio.net) features an interview with glass artist Joseph (Joe) Porcelli on this week’s program. Mr. Porcelli is a self-taught craftsman who works in leaded glass lamps, often known as Tiffany Lamps. Starting his professional life as a musician, he describes how he happened on to his craft and how challenging the start was, all the way through to his success as a publisher, teacher and one whose work is sought after at auction. Mr. Porcelli brings to the Collectors Show audience expertise about the art involved but also gives awareness into the process, the time needed, and how his designs differ from others.
The “Tiffany” style lamp is a uniquely American invention, like jazz or baseball. A real Tiffany Lamp was one designed by Louis Tifanny. These each have a glass shade with a metal base. Over time, this design, regardless of its origin, took on the name of the original designer.
With his non-repeating design, Porcelli and his lamps are re-inventing the art for this century. The leaded glass lamp development can be traced back to the late nineteenth century. It is uniquely American, free of any historical, European or other artistic precedent short of stained glass and mosaic. Among these lamps, some are considered some of the most valuable, beautiful and desirable objects on earth. But the leaded glass lamp has been commercialized to the point where the most insignificant examples can be found in home improvement stores, flea markets and junk shops. The lamps that Mr. Porcelli produces are originals. He works on commissioned pieces and puts his up for auction.
“I was fortunate to come up in the glass community during one of its most fertile periods in history,” said Mr. Porcelli. “The late twentieth century was a time of discovery and renewal, a time when every aspect of working with glass was experiencing a resurgence of interest and development. Not only were the techniques of working within the medium enjoying a renaissance, but the raw material of glass itself was enjoying a re-birth of creativity and innovation that continues to this day.”
About Joseph Porcelli
Publisher, producer, instructor and artist Joe Porcelli, is the author of The Lampmaking Handbook and Jewels of Light, a history of stained glass. He has always believed that information, and the sharing of that information has been a defining characteristic of the phenomenal glass movement of the last 30+ years. Mr. Porcelli is also writing a series of articles for Antique Trader magazine. You can visit his website at www.josephporcellistudio.com.