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2022: The U.N. International Year of Glass and Why It Matters

If you love glass, if you're interested in it, or even if you've never really given this common yet amazing material much thought, this year may be just what you need. Through the behind-the-scenes work of The International Commission on Glass (ICG), the Community of Glass Associations (CGA) and the International Committee of Museums and Collections of Glass (ICOM-Glass), we are beginning a year that promises to be an amazing time for glass--its history, science, industry, art, and a host of other areas as yet to be determined. To say its exciting is indeed an understatement.

(Image credit: IYoG Website:

Perhaps one of the most powerful and intriguing sections of their joint applicaion requesting this designation to the U.N. focused on this [emphasis added]:

1) What glass gives society

With its unparalleled versatility and technical capabilities, glass in its many guises has fostered innumerable cultural and scientific advancements:

  • Glass is the main conduit for information in our knowledge-based society. Glass optical fibers have led to a global communications revolution; they are the backbone of the internet. Glassmakers have given us touch-sensitive covers for our mobile phones, revolutionizing the way we communicate.

  • Glass is the chemically resistant container material for many of today’s life-saving medicines and is playing its part in the world’s quest to deliver a vaccine to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Strengthened glass containers have dramatically improved the reliability of the EpiPen treatment of life-threatening anaphylactic shock from severe allergic reactions.

  • Bioglass compositions have advanced health care with their ability to: integrate with human bone; stimulate the human body’s natural defense to heal flesh wounds; aid tissue design and regeneration; and resolve hearing and dental issues.

  • Glass sheets support solar cells and give clean energy; glass fibers reduce our carbon footprint by strengthening wind turbine blades, by insulating our homes and through carbon capture and sequestration (CCS); the vitrification of hazardous waste is making nuclear energy safer.

  • The evolution of glass optics and optoelectronics mean that the James Webb space telescope can study the first moments after the big bang and expand understanding of the Universe.

  • Glass melting is being de-carbonised and glassy products are being safely recycled.

  • Archaeologists are learning more about ancient trade routes and the politics of raw materials.

  • Glass artists across the globe have given humankind an awareness of this wonderful material including its remarkable methods of fabrication, inherent beauty, and ability to capture and display nature’s full spectrum of color.


Now, if that's not a materials vitae worth studying, I don't know what else is!

(Image Courtesy of

Probably one of the most amazing things about this International Year of Glass is that it will literally involve hundreds--if not thousands--of events, conferences, exhibits, symposiums, historical studies, and celebrations all around the world. Literally, almost no matter where you travel in the world this year, you will be able to take part in this all-encompassing worldwide effort. You can find a schedule of registered events through the IYoG2022 Web site, and because there are so many, you may use "Category," "Event Type," and "Country" filters.

There are already 11 events registered across the U.S. in places as varied as Toledo, OH, San Diego, CA, Nashville, TN, Orlando, FL, and, of course, Corning, NY. Rest Assured, that list will grow--and there are sure to be many events at the local level that aren't registered with the official IYoG2o22 Web site.

Will there be something in Colorado? Anything local to the Arkansas Valley? I sure hope so. We have a plentiful supply of glass artists in the area, so maybe we can put together a show for later this year. It seems a shame not to. I'll keep you posted!

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