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How Federal Regulations Affect The Future Of The Art Glass Industry; Which Arts Industry Is Next?

If you’ve been following the news in the glass world, you already know that major U.S. art glass manufacturers have suspended operations.  The Rickie Report is concerned about the environment and at the same time, anxious about the situation of the manufacturers of products for the arts industry.  How will these issues affect the American-based arts industry, one of the pillars of American creativity and job security? Will oil-based paints be the next target?   We bring you an inside look with Taylor Materio of McMow Art Glass and a Call To Action to share your voice with the lawmakers who will affect the future of the Arts.

 

 

 

 

 

THE  STATE OF  THE  ART GLASS  INDUSTRY,

AND HOW IT BODES FOR THE FUTURE

OF THE AMERICAN ARTS INDUSTRY

 

An Overview With Taylor Materio

 

 

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TRR:  Recently a number of art glass manufacturers in the U.S. have been stopping production or closing.  Tell us what is happening.

TM:

You may already know that Spectrum Glass is halting production and going out of business in the next few months. Uroboros Glass in Portland will be picking up production of the System 96 product line. However, the situation in Portland is growing out of control with knee jerk reactions to some sensationalist journalism not based on science, but based in fear and speculation. Production at Bullseye Glass is being suspended with the prohibition of use of the heavy metals necessary to produce colored glass. The fear hasn’t stopped with the West Coast, as Kokomo Opalescent Glass has been accused of pollution, as well.

 

What you need to know:

  •  The stained and colored glass industry is a small, but home grown American manufacturing phenomenon.

 

  • It’s unique in the world, provides steady manufacturing jobs for American workers, and is an exporting industry as well.

 

  •  This industry of just six manufacturers is facing $2.5-3.5 million of capital investment due to regulatory changes with no advance warning. This investment may prove too much for several of them to bear.

 

 

  • Government intervention is needed for them to meet the goals of the new regulations in such a short time frame.

 

 

 

  • The industry is willing to meet new regulations, but it needs reasonable time to do so.

 

 

  • The manufacturers are all owned by single individuals and their families, who work daily at their plants. They don’t have the resources of publicly traded corporations to simply pay up and move on.

 

 

  • These manufacturers supply thousands of other businesses and craftsmen who depend on their unique glass styles to complete their work. They are now at risk of being put out of work themselves.

 

 

  • The very suppliers who have created the iconic glass of the American stained glass legacy are at risk due to this situation.

 

 

  • There is currently no actual verification that the glass industry is connected to the detected toxins. EPA did moss testing, a new science, which raised public concern. They retested and found the levels to be safe.

 

  • International glass suppliers will make their products available to consumers in the U.S.  There is little or no regulation during their manufacturing process.  The public should be concerned about the possible environmental impact from these products.

 

 

TRR:  We are concerned about our environment.  How can we get this information to the public?

TM:

 

 If you’d like to learn more about the situation, there is a group on Facebook dedicated to Glass Artists for Air Quality:

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/489874894517980/

 

 

TRR:  What is your perspective on how this will affect others in the arts industry?

TM:

 

Some artists’ paints contain heavy metals and other potentially hazardous toxins.   I am concerned that this is the tip of the iceberg and the EPA will be looking at other arts-related materials.  This is a wake-up call to everyone involved with the arts!  While the arts industry will be able to purchase glass manufactured elsewhere in the world, we need to be concerned about the toxicity of those materials, where there is less oversight than here in the U.S.

 

TRR:  What can people do to help  assure a safer environment and still save the U.S. art glass industry?

TM:  

They can write or email their local lawmakers to make them aware.  When the public brings it’s voices together, we can work with legislators.  Here is an example of a letter.

 

 

WHAT  CAN  YOU  DO?

  There are a handful of glass manufacturers in the US who are being forced to introduce expensive equipment into their manufacturing process without a clear and reasonable timeline for implementing these procedures. If you would like to contact your Representatives in Washington to let them know that the glass art industry is a precious part of the US economy that we don’t want to see disappear due to unreasonable regulations, a sample letter is below. Feel free to change it up.

 

To find your Senator: http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/
To find your Representative: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

 

 

Dear Senator or Representative,

This week Spectrum Glass in Washington announced that after 40 years of producing colored art glass they will be closing their doors in July. They are the main American manufacturer of many types of colored art glass. This affects an estimated 30,000 Stained Glass, Fused Glass and Glass Blowing Artists, Stores, Art Studios and Hobbyists across America. Fortunately, arrangements have been made for Uroboros Glass in Oregon state to take over production of some of their Art Glass Product line. But there is still a huge problem threatening the American Art Glass Community.

 

 

The entire U.S. art glass industry is now being evaluated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with respect to potential new regulations.  Spectrum is the first to announce it’s closure, but other glass producing companies are also evaluating their options. Uroboros Glass has suspended production of two-thirds of their glass while EPA re-evaluates their standards. Long-standing interpretations of air quality regulations are being reevaluated, and if new regulations are applied to our industry, it would require substantial capital expenses. Spectrum Glass Company has operated well within existing environmental guidelines and has been the only stained glass manufacturer to employ baghouse technology on furnace exhaust. Still, they have already accrued extraordinary, unanticipated expenses since the start of the EPA evaluation and cannot withstand additional investments of an unknown scale. These business collapses will have a ripple effect across the country.
The stained and colored glass industry is a small, but home grown American manufacturing phenomenon. It’s unique in the world, provides steady manufacturing jobs for American workers, and is an exporting industry as well. This industry of just six manufacturers is facing $2.5-3.5 million of capital investment due to regulatory changes with no advance warning. This investment may prove too much for several of them to bear.
Government intervention is needed for them to meet the goals of the new regulations in such a short time frame. The industry is willing to meet new regulations, but it needs reasonable time to do so.
The manufacturers are all owned by single individuals and their families, who work daily at their plants. They don’t have the resources of publicly traded corporations to simply pay up and move on.  These manufacturers supply thousands of other businesses and craftsmen who depend on their unique glass styles to complete their work. They are now at risk of being put out of work themselves. The very suppliers who have created the iconic glass of the American stained glass legacy are at risk due to this situation. There is currently no actual verification that the glass industry is connected to the detected toxins. EPA did moss testing, a new science, which raised public concern. They retested and found the levels to be safe.

 

 

 

The current EPA review and imposed freeze of production is all based in fear not fact.  I want to protect the environment, but I do not want to crush an American Art Industry on assumed causation.

 

 

 

Please do whatever you can to prevent the loss of small businesses,  jobs and an entire art form. The American Art Glass community needs your help.

Regards,
Your Name

 

 

For more information please contact:

Taylor Materio, Creative Director
McMow Art Glass, Inc
561-585-9011 x108
Fax: 561-586-2292
taylor@mcmow.com
www.mcmow.com
www.facebook.com/mcmow

 

 

For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420

Rickie@therickiereport.com

561-537-0291

To read previous posts, click TheRickieReport.com and scroll down.