Artful Living: Peter Wayne Yenawine

By: Colby Lucas, intern at Thousand Islands Arts Center
The Thousand Islands Arts Center ~ Home of the Handweaving Museum (TIAC) is proud to host Peter Yenawine, one of the top industrial crystal designers. The opening reception for ‘Yenawine: Through My Eyes’ will be held at TIAC on July 18, from 5 to 7 p.m., and remain on display until Sept. 4.

    ‘Yenawine: Through My Eyes’ is a unique exhibition as TIAC has never featured a solo glass designer in its 51 years of presenting exceptional regional and nationally known artists. TIAC offers a wide variety of exhibitions throughout the year, including painting, photography, pottery, and textiles, but this will be the first one displaying handcrafted lead crystal glass products and sculpture.        

    As an extremely talented artist, Yenawine turned his passion of designing into a livelihood and eventually became president and chief designer of Crystal Signatures Inc. in Bethlehem, Pa. If Yenawine’s work doesn’t express his raw talent for design, perhaps his many career accomplishments may impress you. Yenawine has collaborated with seven different presidential administrations and most recently had the opportunity to complete work for the Barack Obama White House. Yenawine’s remarkable designs have expanded on an international level, so much so that pieces have been sent as far as Dubai. And, his work can be seen in private collections and major museums throughout the world.

    Yenawine’s work ranges from elegantly designed bowls, platters, and obelisks to grand sculptures, as well as an extensive demand for custom-made pieces. He has developed products for Steuben, Baccarat, Lenox, D. Swarovski & Co., Orrefors, and Goebel, just to name a few. TIAC is honored to work with Peter Yenawine this season as his time and work are in high demand.

    Yenawine created and designed a window hanger using lace samples from our very own collection at TIAC. The window hanger is the first design for what is anticipated to be an annual series for TIAC, with each piece being named, numbered, dated, and signed by the artist.

    Yenawine has a rare eye for design; he has the ability to begin crafting something original and intricate moments after brainstorming an idea with a client. This talent of Yenawine’s is what has made him extremely successful in his 40-plus years of design.

    A graduate of Syracuse University’s School of Industrial Design, Yenawine relishes in the thrill of listening to his client’s interests for custom pieces and then designing them to match his own vision, creating truly unique signature pieces.

    Not only has Yenawine been commissioned to complete a series of custom pieces, but has committed his time to the completion of prominent awards for well-known societal figures, corporations and events. Yenawine’s accomplishments include the design of awards used for the ESPYs, as well as gifts given to foreign dignitaries such as the pope. Yenawine has also created awards for NHL, NASCAR, MLB, NBA, NCAA, and ESPN.

    Yenawine is an internationally recognized designer of crystal and precious metals as a result of his many well-known designs. As an outcome of the designer’s prominence, he has had the ability to design pieces to fit the vision of those who are commissioning him while still tailoring each project to match his own liking. For example, the Association of Tennis Professionals commissioned Yenawine to design a crown for the winner of the ATP Tour of Champions.

    After a long winter, we are excited to present an assortment of Yenawine’s beautifully crafted pieces to kick off the summer exhibition season. TIAC is located at 314 John St. in Clayton, and is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m.  to 5 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

                Saint Lawrence Spirits Distillery & Chateau is hosting Peter Yenawine for an intimate presentation and chance to meet the artist July 17. Any ticket purchased for the ‘Yenawine: Through My Eyes’ exhibition opening at TIAC on July 18 gives the ticket holder access to the presentation at the Chateau on July 17 as well. Both events are open to the public. Admission to the catered exhibition opening is $75 for TIAC members and $100 for non-members and will feature wine, craft beers and seltzer, and savory hors d’oeuvres.