This August, we welcomed ten students from Pratt Institute to our studio for a semester-long survey of glass course. Though we have met a new group of students nearly every Fall and Spring since our partnership with Pratt began in 2008, this year was undeniably different. The coronavirus pandemic imposed a long list of logistical challenges to be sure, but with the conclusion of final assessments last Friday, we are delighted to be celebrating the workshop's success.
This being the first in-person education program to resume since we had to close our doors in March, we prepared as much as we possibly could in the months leading up to the start of the semester. New community guidelines and safety protocols were installed, including outfitting our instructors with microphone headsets to amplify their voices over the noise of ventilation, and setting up a large-screen television monitor to project demonstrations so that students could remain socially distanced while observing a new technique. Everything from entering the building to moving throughout the different studio areas was prescribed in acute detail. Even with so much planning, the semester would not have been the success that it was without the mutual trust and respect that defined the conduct of our weekly classes.
Led with the careful guidance and enduring devotion of artist and educator, Jane Bruce, the Intro to Glass survey course introduced students to a variety of glassmaking techniques. With help from talented visiting artists and experts in their respective fields, Dorie Guthrie and Esteban Salazar, as well as graduate teaching assistants, Jake Wolf and Karina Oumov, the class learned open-face and lost-wax kiln casting, beadmaking, borosilicate flameworking, coldworking and sand casting.
Our students came from all over the globe, including the US, Mexico, China and Denmark, pursuing bachelor's and master's degrees in Industrial Design, Sculpture, Art and Design Education, Graphic Design, Photography, Painting and Architecture. Through all of these different perspectives, each student discovered their own unique connections to glass. It was thrilling to see their individual voices emerge in the bodies of work they completed throughout the course. Describing her experience as a returning student this semester, Alyssa Klemmtz (BFA/MA, Art and Design Education, 2021) said, “I feel like I was able to really craft my glass art practice into a positive direction of where I want my work to go.” That is exactly what we hope for each semester; that our students will come away from the course equipped with new creative tools and outlooks, and strong community bonds to inspire and propel their future artistic endeavors.
These many months spent in varying degrees of isolation have imbued a preciousness into the time we are able to sped together, face-to-real-live-face. We are grateful to have shared some precious time with our students, and to the dedication of everyone involved in that journey — our administrative partners at Pratt, the UrbanGlass education team, our amazing freelance instructors, the students and especially our stellar crew of studio technicians — who helped make that possible. To the class of Fall 2020, a hearty congratulations for your achievements and fortitude in this exceptionally strange year. We can’t wait to see the exciting ways in which you continue to weave glass into your personal practice.
Pratt Fall 2020:
Yuyang (Cicada) Chen
Jianing (Cathy) Wang
Marie Anine Møeller Joergensen
Peizhen (Patricia) Wang
Xiangshu (Abby) Zhang
Wearable, Michelle Bayat
Untitled, Yuyang (Cicada) Chen
Untitled, Guilad Katz
Untitled, Alyssa Klemmtz
Tentacle, Marie Anine Møeller Joergensen
Glass 13, Jacquelyne Pierson
Untitled, Jianing (Cathy) Wang
Untitled, Peizhen (Patricia) Wang
Untitled, Xiangshu (Abby) Zhang