Glass blowers from the Museum of Glass came to South Puget Sound Community College to help students make their own glass-blown ornaments to keep for free.
Tacoma’s Museum of Glass brought their mobile Hot Shop Team to the college, April 18 in front of Building 21.
The team had two experienced glass blowers, Becca Chernow and Richard Langley, giving students the opportunity to experience the art of glass blowing from 11 a.m to 3 p.m.
The team had to begin on setting up April 15 for their demonstrations on April 18.
Native American glass artist Dan Friday did demonstrations at the mobile shop from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. April 19 to coincide with the “Fifth Annual Native American Heritage Art Exhibit” at the Minnaert Center that night.
Glass blowing is a process of heating up glass so hot that one can shape and mold it into a variety of objects. Glass blowers can heat up glass to mold them into simple plates and cups, or exquisite and colorful pieces of art.
SPSCC student, Tresor L. de La Vigne, was the first volunteer to try blowing glass after her professor, Joe Batt, mentioned it to her in art class.
After making blown glass for the first time La Vigne said the experience was “constantly active and very engaging.”
La Vigne found glass blowing more exciting than she expected. She said the artists, Chernow and Langely, made her feel like a part of a team as they guided her step by step through the glass making process.
La Vigne is studying to become an artist, and after her opportunity to blow glass, she said she could definitely see herself doing this more in the future.
She said that she could not wait to come see the Hot Shop Team again the next day, and that it was the most exciting event she has witnessed at SPSCC.
Along with the two glass artists there on Thursday was Sheldon Levin, a museum curator at the Museum of Glass. Levin explained the process of glass blowing to the audiences that came to watch.
Levin said one of the challenges for the team is making everything mobile with the electricity and gas that runs the equipment. The shop certainly is mobile, as it has been busy moving around to different schools in the area.Levin said while the equipment is much smaller to make it mobile, it includes all the necessary tools. This included the cullet, which is a furnace made of recycled clear glass, a variety of tools, and a workbench for the artists.
Levin has been working for the museum since it opened 12 years ago. During his career, he has had the chance to meet many world-class artists that have come to visit the museum.
Levin also teaches an art class at the museum that is offered to students starting in elementary school and emphasizes the “connection between science and art.”
Robin Ewing, an art technician at SPSCC, has been part of the process of getting the mobile team to come to this school, because she works in ceramics and has done some glass blowing.
Ewing said the event was approved by the Campus Activities Board and cost the school about $4,000.
Ewing said the museum is doing this as part of their community outreach program.
She got a chance to make a glass ornament at the mobile shop on Thursday.
Student A.j. Swezey also watched the demonstration Thursday morning. Swezey said he has always been interested in this profession of art, but has never gotten a chance to go inside the museum. This was his first chance to have that opportunity, and with it being free, Swezey said he could not pass it up.
Later, Swezey got an up-close look on the process and made his very own piece of blown glass.