For a day, Washington was the glass capital.

Some 50 top glass artists converged on Washington Thursday to have tea with Joan Mondale at the Vice President's Residence and to preview their work in "New Glass, A Worldwide Survey" at the Renwick Gallery (see FORM, Page F1).

Marvin Lipofsky of Berkeley, Calif. -- one of the first glass artists -- who in the '60s had a reputation as a nonconformist, showed up in a tie -- borrowed. One old friend said, "I never thought to see the day when Lipofsky with a tie on would be having tea with the vice president's wife."

Potter Joan Mondale talked with Harvey Littleton, a potter turned glassblower. Littleton, though only 58, is counted as the grandfather of the glass renaissance in the United States, which has sparked a whole world of new creation in glass. Littleton recently sold $50,000 worth of glass in one show in Chicago.

Artist Henry Halem, once a Washington potter but now in Kent, Ohio, shook hands and said, "Glad to have you here, I'm Fritz Mondale." Bill Mondale, the vice president's son, clapped him on the back and said, "Hi, Dad."

At the Renwick opening, an early glass master, Fritz Dreisbach, was represented only by a goblet that FriarJerry Hovanec of Capuhin College brought to drink wine from.

Almost a fist fight broke out when the Renwick's sales gallery opened. Dominick Labino's five or six glass pieces were sold out in about two seconds at prices of about $500 to $600. A great many of the glass artists congratulated Lloyd Herman, Renwick director, on the installation by curator Michael Monroe. "Here the glass had space to breathe," one said. Several said the previous installations at the Corning Museum and the Toledo Museum seemed more crowded.

About 1050 glass artists, collectors,and buffs turned up for the Renwick opening. Everybody seemed to be having a great time pressed against each other and the glass cases -- except when a waiter dropped wine glasses and the crowd shuddered at the sound.