Glass blower Joel Phillip Myers explained the glass vase on the vice president's sideboard:
"[It] expresses my joy in blowing glass, extending its skin to the bursting point; to blow and blow like the child blowing a balloon-blow and blow and blow and blow-but stop just before the balloon bursts. The form grows, expands like magic. I apply the silver to the hot form, and it spreads and grows on the form; I taunt the piece with the blowtorch, and cut it with the diamond point, and still the balloon survives and triumphs."
The lead crystal blown-glass bowl with silver, lead-reduction and diamond point drawing on its surface, is borrowed from the Museum of Contempory Crafts in New York.
Joan Mondale has just borrowed from museums in the Northeast some 25 or so craft works by major American masters along with contemporary paintings and sculpture.
Some are traditional crafts such as the Caroline Indian basket filled with an amaryllis. Others are outrageous. On the piano is Robert Shaw's earthenware chair and couch-less than 10 inches tall-painted with figures of cows. "I think he thought that the overstuffed furniture looked like cows," Mondale said.
"Somewhere in the last few years, the line between art and craft was erased," Joan Mondale noted. And indeed, the craft objects in the house, installed with the help of Michael Monroe of the Renwick Gallery, are high art. Among the most beautiful are: Marisol's white plastic and wood self-portrait mask, which every day must be ornamented with a fresh white carnation for its teeth; Timothy Grannis' silver propeller ornament; Dudley Giverson's blown amber Daum-like glass vase; Dale Chihuly's clear glass over pink opal "eye-dazzler" cylinder, and old master Harvey Littleton's blue blown and cut glass tubes.
The works, borrowed through the National Collection of Fine Arts, will be on view in the vice president's house for a year. Potter Mondale selected the crafts with assistance from Elena Canavier, her arts advisor, and Robert Buck, director of Buffalo's Albright-Knox Art Gallery. CAPTION: Picture 1, Glass vase by Joel Phillip Myers.; Picture 2, Robert Shaw's couch and chair.; Picture 3, Carolina Indian basket.; Picture 4, Vice Presidential Service, Joan Mondale's cup and coffee and tea set are part of a white porcelain clay beverage service made by Kathleen Frazier of Portland, Ore. In addition to the vice president's permanent collection of contemporary crafts, Mrs. Mondale recently has acquired other works that are on loan to the house. Photos by Harry Naltchayan-The Washington Post