If no one had mentioned what the final pieces were about, I wouldn't have gotten Deborah's intent from her finished work. I don't know art, so maybe that's on me, I appreciate what she wanted to convey, but even being told, it felt heavy-handed and I didn't really care for the representation. The fry pan was pretty cool, though, and I did like some of her other work.
I thought Janusz's idea was much clearer and more elegantly presented, and I liked his style better both in the final and throughout. I'm sorry that he didn't win. They said flat-out that he was the best technical artist, but I wonder if the residency program wasn't looking for someone with a wider creative vision.
Janusz is creative, no question, and his work is beautiful and skilled. Deborah, while a little clunkier perhaps, pushes the boundaries a bit more, and maybe that's what appealed to them - or they felt she'd benefit more from the opportunity because of it.
I believe they were about the same age and had been working with glass about the same number of years. But even if her style wasn't always to my taste, it did seem that Deborah was still experimenting artistically, whereas Janusz kind of has his thing and has perfected it. His comments about not really having advanced in his career made me sad, in that possible light. Maybe the residency would have pushed him outside of his comfort zone and into greater success.
So - I just looked at the Corning Museum of Glass site, and the Artist-in-Residence program is something held several times a year in month-long sessions, and artists can just apply for it. Transportation, room, board, and basic supplies are included. Applying doesn't guarantee a spot, and certainly there's no $60,000 prize, but it is open. I hope they told the contestants about this (or they thought to look), and I hope several of them go for it. Not winning this competition doesn't mean there's no chance to participate.