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S01.E10: Best in Blow

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SEASON FINALE!

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The two finalists compete in a final challenge gallery showing, and one will be named the Blown Away Champion and receive a $60,000 prize package.

Original Canadian air date: 4/24/19
Original U.S. air date: 7/12/19

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I have mentioned that I am a fan of sleek, modern design, so I was rooting for Janusz from the start and really thought that he had it in the bag. The different parts of his sculpture where really elegant pieces, simple shapes, great ideas and well put together. He is a great craftsman, but maybe a more whacky, exuberant designer was what they were looking for when it comes to art glass.

Deborah really went for something unexpeced. I could have done without the cartoon ham, but the pan and the large egg were stunning. Shame they didn't show us the sausages in more detail, there was quite a variation in colour, wasn't there?

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I agree - Janusz created some really sleek, beautiful pieces for the finale. Apparently the judges wanted something less literal though.

I know almost nothing about glass blowing so I'd be interested to hear what people in the glass blowing community have to say about the judges' decision. Like am I crazy because I preferred how technically clean Janusz's pieces were?

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Deborah grew on me throughout the competition and I'm happy she won.  I appreciated the whimsy she displayed in her concepts and I was super impressed with the sausage/frying pan part of her final.  Other than the globe within the cloche, while sleek, I was disappointed in what Janusz put out for the finale. I wonder if he was able to accomplish his ultimate plan.  He mentioned more than once how far behind he was, especially compared to where Deborah was.  

Deborah is the kind of glass blower whose pieces I feel I'm more likely to see in a museum.  Janusz's pieces feel like things I'd be more likely to commission for my own home.  And I suspect that will be the end result for him.  

I was happy they had professional assistants in the finale, especially since so much of what the contestants could accomplish rested on what the assistants could do.  I'm also surprised we didn't have more glass disasters than we did. 

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Deborah's installation looked like pure kitsch to me, though Janusz's was a bit underwhelming. Wished we could have seen what Alex would have done.

Edited by Corgi-ears

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I'm kind of disappointed, I wanted Janusz to win, I like his work much better than Deborah's.

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2 hours ago, GaT said:

I'm kind of disappointed, I wanted Janusz to win, I like his work much better than Deborah's.

Same here. No matter which way I looked at it (overall performance throughout the season, just the final challenge), I liked his work better and I thought his technical skills were much better (as was his range of technical skills).

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I thought Janusz's installation was far too busy and preferred Deborah's use of the space (including the floor).  While Janusz  was definitely the most technically advanced of the ten, his pieces never really "sang" to me.

While Deborah's personality was a bit grating, I liked almost all her pieces.

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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.

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I binged this entire series last night, so I'm commenting in this episode thread.

Oh man, I hope there's more seasons of this!  I also hope they're hour long episodes, I want to see more of the process.  I live near Tacoma, and the hot shop at the museum of glass there is a great place to lose hours out of your day.  I'm fascinated by how these beautiful and deadly-until-cooled pieces of art are just *poof* created out of sand.

That said, I did love the competition.  It was more like Face Off, or Forged in Fire than Project Runway.  It kind of reminded me of the very short-lived Work of Art show on Bravo, particularly with the quirky artist "characters."  It was kind of obvious from the editing, though, that the finale was going to come down to Janusz and Deborah. 

About the only thing I liked about Deborah was how whimsical her creations were.  But her personality itself was a bit grating and bitchy.  Her running commentary criticizing the other artists was not a good look for her, but I appreciated the editors showing us that real artists aren't all airy-fairy kumbaya supportive of other artists and their artistic visions--the "dirty little secret" of the art world.  It is as cuthroat as every other business, but rarely acknowledged as such.

Janusz was given an interesting edit: alternately soft and fuzzy then curmudgeonly demanding.  Maybe that's the real Janusz!  But I think maybe his humor doesn't come off very well.  A couple of times he was shown ordering everyone to get out of his way at the color shelves, looking quite entitled and selfish, then in later episodes, it was obvious he was joking when doing that.  He appears to be self-aware though, and I appreciated his apology to his assistants up front indicating that he was likely to get rather short and rude with his urgent demands during their work.

I'm OK with the win, but I didn't really like that Deborah had to explain the deeper meanings of her installation, while with Janusz they immediately got the concept he was going for.

I thought the mentor was a bit intrusive during the process, and yes, she's an "evaluator," but she seemed pretty harsh with some of her critiques.  Though her critique of the first orca whale piece as "something you could buy in an airport gift shop" was unfortunately spot on.  Not just any gift shop, but an airport gift shop.  Ouch.  She's like that professor you really hate.  She settled down as the season unfolded, but she did seem to have favorites and not-favorites, and unduly praised or denigrated them based on that.  I'd like to see more than one glass expert during the judging to temper her strong opinion.  Right now, I think she's got too much influence over the process.

I'm sticking in for a second season.  Or is there one already, and I missed it last night?

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3 hours ago, HurricaneVal said:

I'm sticking in for a second season.  Or is there one already, and I missed it last night?

No word on renewal or cancellation yet. 

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I thoroughly enjoyed this show. As so many others have mentioned, I would love to see it expand to an hour so that more techniques and skills could be explained. I felt that we were getting more insights into the process as the contestants were eliminated, but it still wasn't enough. I want to understand what the different tools do and how they know which to use, and I really want to see more of the steps to add color into the piece.

I never warmed up to Deborah, and I tried! (Solidarity, Sister!) Even in her last installation, everything she did seemed like it belonged in the pop art week. Technically, I understand that what she did was amazing, but it just seems like you shouldn't have to explain in detail what your artwork represents. I mean, the egg...was her? Hee, I get it, it just seems like being too deliberately obtuse. Meanwhile, Janusz's work was always so beautiful and accessible. I know, I know - it's in the eye of the beholder, right?

Also agree that it would help to hear more of what the contestants wrote in their explanation of their works. Did the host vote? In future, I think they should have two evaluators (!) who know glasswork, plus a guest who is an expert in whatever the subject is. I totally understood the need for a wine expert for the decanters, but those guests should be offset by those who know about the glass. Again, JMO!

Hoping for another season!

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In general Janusz style appeals more to me but the final installation felt busy and underwhelming because the eye focused on so many things it was hard to take in the whole.  The individual pieces I liked better than Deborah's but as a whole Deborah felt more cohesive and different.

I felt like Janusz stuff, too, had less point of view in general.  His stuff was so technically brilliant and I will buy stuff from him but as an artist in residence I don't know what point of view he would bring to his new job that was something they didn't have previously, technically proficient glass blowers.   

Deborah, on the other hand, has a unique perspective that is, for better and for worse, entirely Deborah so I thought the opportunity was greater for her to really have her stuff have an impact.  I can't see myself purchasing her stuff but I can see myself going to an exhibit and talking about her stuff for a long time, and with Janusz, I see myself buying lots but not really having much to say about it other than, "oooh, the pretty..."

I have no major glass blowing knowledge but my mom collects glass and has for years.  She preferred Janusz but truly wants an egg for her collection.

On 7/15/2019 at 9:34 PM, Corgi-ears said:

Wished we could have seen what Alex would have done.

Several clear pieces under various glass domes?  He was my second favorite (after Janusz) but by the 3rd glass dome I was ready to see something different.    

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I think what it came down to is that the final challenge was an art installation.  Janusz is an incredibly talented glass blower, but his art is very literal.  I mean, putting a small globe under a cloche to illustrate how we need to protect our world is about as literal as it gets.  If you asked Janusz to depict a female glass blower struggling among a male dominated field, he would have created a technically perfect glass Barbie and surrounded her by glass Kens.   So from an art perspective, to put it in Deborah's words, it's a bit pedestrian.   Technically perfect, but lacking in artistic vision.  He's the musician who gets every note technically right, but has no soul behind the music. 

Deborah is on the other end of the spectrum - she loves interpretive art.  And that is really what an art installation calls for.  I liked the commentary infused with whimsy.  And I never would have guessed there were that many sausage links being made!  Had to be dozens of them.

I loved seeing J & D working with their teams.  I was surprised at just how much glass blowing the "assistants" did. 

I hope they do a second season.  But, please make the episodes longer!  They were clocking in at 23 minutes.  That's not a tv show, that's an infomercial. 

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20 hours ago, chaifan said:

They were clocking in at 23 minutes.  That's not a tv show, that's an infomercial. 

LOL

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I'm happy Deborah won! I was rooting for her for a while. I completely get why she would alienate some viewers. I personally tend to like outspoken reality show contestants. I also liked that she wore her heart on her sleeve. Her pieces were a lot of fun because of how unexpected they were. For all of her competitiveness, she was consistent in her solidarity with other women in the field.

It's funny but I feel like Janusz got a rough edit this episode yet somehow I ended up liking him more. I felt like Deborah had more snide talking heads throughout the season yet in this episode they played up that side of Janusz. That felt like a deliberate editing choice. What made me warm to him a little bit more was seeing him be more vulnerable. I think that when he looked like the inevitable front runner he was less interesting, but when he talked about not being accomplished enough I could connect more.

I think Janusz would have benefited a lot from a round like the technical on Great British Baking Show. I agree with everyone who would like to see the show expanded and a short technical round might be a good way to do that.

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After seeing discussion about this show elsewhere online, it's so refreshing to see the commentary here. So many people have panned the show for giving Deborah a win for political reasons (though both artists did work that was explicitly political). Janusz was one of my favorites all the way through and I agree that he was probably the best competitor technically, but his final project was a let down. He made a piece about protecting the earth by putting a glass earth under a cloche and making smokestacks in the background. Of course judges who were art experts would nail him for being too literal. 

My husband made fun of me for suggesting they both should have won, but the Corning Museum's website lists Janusz under its Artists and Instructors, so I suspect the museum directors knew a good thing when they saw it and snapped him up for a residency or some similar opportunity, too. Deborah's appearances at the museum are happening this month.

https://www.cmog.org/bio/janusz-po-niak

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On 10/5/2019 at 7:28 AM, LaChavalina said:

but the Corning Museum's website lists Janusz under its Artists and Instructors, so I suspect the museum directors knew a good thing when they saw it and snapped him up for a residency or some similar opportunity, too. Deborah's appearances at the museum are happening this month.

He had previously had a residence there and also taught there for a year or two prior to being on the show.

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