Art Class Works with Glass

Andrew Velarde, Managing Editor of Videography and Photography

The students calm their minds and focus on the glass placed in front of them. They have been extensively preparing for the past couple of weeks, and don’t want to make slightest mistake on what would be their future masterpiece. With the slice of the scoring tool the art students take their first steps into creating art with glass.

Through the next couple of weeks the advanced art class will be completing a special art project titled “Art on the Cutting Edge.” This project is related to the grant art teacher Rebbeca Harrison received last year and revolves around glass fusion.

“This is my first time and the students’ first time doing this project so the whole experimentation aspect is really cool,” Harrison said. “It is also awesome as a teacher to get to see students excited about something they have never done before.”

The idea of this project is based on breaking glass to make it arrangeable. After fusing the glass using the kiln, the students will mold the fused glass into either a square slumped plate or a round slumped bowl.

“I came up with the idea after visiting a conference and seeing that several other schools do glass fusion with their kilns and enjoy it,” Harrison said. “So it was just something I knew would be interesting to the students.”

Harrison wrote the grant at the end of last year to the Helen S. Boylan Foundation. The grant which was almost $3,500  allows the art class to buy the needed safety equipment as well as tools for breaking the glass.

“I was super excited writing the grant, and of course you never know if you will get it so it was kind of like Christmas when we got it,” Harrison said. “I was like ‘oh my goodness we got the grant.’ I was super excited.”

The students during this project will get to learn all new types of skills such as controlled breaking of glass, glass handling, glass safety and learning to use glass scoring tools. 

“In the beginning most of the students were on board with the project with a few still hesitant about using the glass,” Harrison said. “What’s interesting is since we’ve started actually breaking glass and working with glass all the students have come around to becoming really excited about it.”

One of the first things the class did was start learning about the fusing process, and they learned about how, why, what was happening inside of the kiln. This week the class will go clean the kiln to make sure that their glass will not stick to the shelves.

 “Probably the most difficult part of this will be the firing process,” Harrison said. “It’s a very calculated and a very meticulous type of process that deals with a lot of physics and a lot of chemical and physical reactions.”

The final part of the piece which is molding the art will take place in a couple of weeks where the student will put their art back into the kiln and fire them again. 

“Now I am a bundle of nerves worried about making sure everything is perfect,” Harrison said. “The students have done their part and now it’s up to research and what we are doing in the kiln.”