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Bird vase #5410 in Charcoal,
designed by Wayne Husted in 1954.

Measures 16.5 inches tall x 10.25 inches diameter.


This large sculptural "Bird Vase" was designed in 1954, by Wayne Husted. It belongs to an important series of figural designs of Husted's including a mermaid, ram, cat, and owl. The representational forms, which Husted explored throughout his tenure at the Blenko Glass Company, established and demonstrate a central aspect of his oeuvre; subversion of the vessel and an overriding interest in sculptural forms.

This, Husted's earliest figural design, is the most classical of all of them. Since the 19th Century the Venetians were producing elaborate designs in Soffiati glass, often with animals - both mythical and real - incorporated into them and in rare instances the figure would be the entire form. To step out beyond the world of glass, ewers have been made of bird forms since Mesopotamian times at least. And so this form in particular, well grounded in historical precedent, made for a perfect starting point for Husted's very unique take on figural glass vessels.

Many people, upon first seeing this design, interpret it as an ewer. This interpretation is perfectly understandable given the very handle-like tail feathers and the very spout-like beak, however the catalog clearly describes it as a vase, knowing full well that it could never be successfully used as a pitcher. Of course, this begs the question of how suitable the form is for use as a vase too. Without a doubt this is not a functional design in any respect, and in labeling it a "vase" The Blenko Glass Company effectively introduces a new era, tacitly acknowledging that the pretext of functionality has been left behind.

Represented in the collection of the Chrysler Museum of Art in this color.