When you think about it, glass really is incredible. Those elegant wine glasses that your mother pulls out only during the holidays, or that delicate vase sitting in the lobby of a hotel- these were sand at some point. Certain sand types contain high silica levels, and when heated, this silica sand melts, and eventually becomes the substance that will cool, harden, and finally become glass.
So how does this hot liquid turn into that elegant wine glass? Well, a glass blower melts the sand and then picks up the hot liquid using a long tube. By blowing through this tube, the glass begins to expand like bubblegum or a balloon. As it does so, the glass blower can manipulate this gooey liquid into shapes by forming it with molds or by using metal rods. This work is usually hard, hot, and must be done very quickly, preferably within a few minutes, as the glass hardens almost immediately. It is for this reason that glassblowers ought to have a careful plan beforehand once the liquid glass is at hand. They must be creative at problem solving and be ready for any sort of challenge.
Glass blowing is a traditional and cherished art form that has been gaining popularity for the past few decades. This is because glassblowers are rare, special artists who create stunningly beautiful objects for the rest of us to admire and use in shops, our homes, and in galleries all around the globe. Below, therefore, we take a look at 5 of the best glass blowing schools in the USA as follows:
- 1. The Tulsa Glassblowing School
Located in the Brady Arts District in downtown Tulsa, the Tulsa Glassblowing School is definitely a fun place to go whether you just want to observe a piece of artwork in progress or are looking to learn a new skill. The studio provides a safe and dynamic environment for anyone over the age of 13 years to create glass art. In fact, its studio is the only open-access facility throughout Tulsa where the public is welcome to watch artists work any time its doors are open. It also offers recreational and educational opportunities for both the young and young at heart.
- 2. The Diablo Glass School
Located in mission Hill, close to Brookline in Boston MA, the Diablo Glass School provides beginner to advanced level (including online courses) glassblowing art courses for kids, teens, and adults at their tailor-made studios in Boston. It is a place where experienced and beginning glass artists are welcome to share a conducive and nurturing environment in order to help develop and grow their creative skills.
- 3. The Redmond School of Glass
The Redmond School of Glass studios offer both artists as well as admirers of blown glass a unique and collaborative experience. It is conveniently located off of Redmond Way, near the end of route 520 and is a short drive from almost anywhere in the city. So, whether you are looking for a one-of-a-kind art piece for your office, need a creative way for a team to build cohesion, or are interested in trying a new class, this school should be of immense help. Enroll and get to see what fire can create.
- 4. Shasta College
This glassblowing school offers an introductory education in the history, materials, and techniques of glass as an art medium. Its curriculum places emphasis on contemporary fine-art practices through interdisciplinary approaches and incorporating diverse subject matter. The program’s resources include cold working equipment, fusing, casting facilities, and a two-bench hot shop that has two glass furnaces.
The glass program at the college was established by Clif Sowder in 1969 when he developed the program’s facilities in an attempt to address the new interest of glassblowing that was taking root in art schools across the country. Many students that were taught by Clif during his thirty six year tenure at the institution went on to make careers of this craft.
Now over four decades later and under the leadership of David Gentry, the glass offerings at the college continue to be an art medium for student exploration, emphasizing beginning and intermediate level study in cold working, blowing, and casting processes which better prepare students for transfer into glass programs at art schools and universities elsewhere.
- 5. The Cleveland Institute of Art
Students in the BFA degree program at the Cleveland Institute of Art train in 3 main methodologies:
- Working hot glass which entails off-hand molten glass processes and glassblowing
- Working glass cold which involves grinding, cutting, fabricating, polishing, and sandblasting.
- Fusion processes e.g. bending, slumping, and casting.
Having surveyed all the basic methods during the introductory classes, you will then explore various concepts and techniques before carrying out your own independent research and study tailored to developing your own style. This will be carried out under the guidance of qualified glass professors whose commitment to this art form has earned them global recognition as the leading contributors to this craft.
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