View Full Version : We are HOT!
11-19-2008, 09:10 PM
Today was a historical first. I have successfully implemented the only glass blowing program at a south dakota university. Today I did the first gather, and formation of a paperweight. It wasn't anything to brag about but it worked. We had molten glass, the glory hole was glowing, and we did it. Some of the students got a chance too. I will post pics later I have to resize them for this site.
11-19-2008, 09:19 PM
Hey, we want Paul Stankard quality by next week or we're shuttin you down. Start practicing.:rolleyes:
Tip: don't marver on your lap.
11-21-2008, 01:57 AM
What sort of furnace did you all set up, gas or electric ? A hot shop is about as exciting as it gets !!! Congrats.
11-21-2008, 10:34 AM
We are using an electric kiln right now, but we will be building a gas furnace over the holidays, here are some pics from wednesday, Day 1. Enjoy!
11-22-2008, 01:12 AM
A feather in your cap, Matt-- Well-done!
The other night, I was actually discussing the lack of glass-blowing programs at major universities with someone.
I imagine there's much enthusiasm for the opportunity!
Look forward to more news!
11-22-2008, 09:56 AM
Saw this and didn't know if it might be useful to your students...
11-22-2008, 08:03 PM
Congrats! Tulane started what I think was the first glass program in New Orleans about 1968 or so, and now there probably are ten or more, both university and independents. I have a couple of early student pieces.
11-22-2008, 08:53 PM
The kids are so excited, I have had to work some of the bugs out, had to add more flux to the glass, but it looks pretty good now. There are a lot of people in the community that are asking "when can I take a class?" Right now I am running it as another medium within the sculpture curriculum, but I figure it will need to be spun off quite soon to handle the demand. Our university has been having enrollment problems for quite a few years, this year we were up 12%, our art department went from 17 freshmen three years ago, 27 last year, and 40+ this fall. So far we haven't gained any faculty, its just 3.5 studio and one art historian. I teach all of the 3-D, with the exception of adjuncts who pick up the ceramics. Its what we call the "trenches" of university teaching. I do enjoy it for the most part, I am proud of the improvements I/we have made to really raise the program to the point that it has become the most comprehensive art program in the state, and the only one with glass in the region. My students are doing really great this year. I assigned a metal project that had to be at least 3ft in one direction and many created 8ft+ sculptures for their first welded sculpture that they have ever done. Many are seeing themselves as sculptors, stating that "This is what I want to do for a career". As a teacher I find great satisfaction in helping them discover sculpture and that thing that we all already know, that sculpture is the best! I thank you all for your kind words and the links. I will post more pics as we begin to make things that are worth keeping.
11-23-2008, 12:43 AM
The thing about Hot Shops, they are very expensive to maintain. While the glass is glowing, get the university president and anyone else in the school administration involved, excited and addicted. You're going to need loads of money and all the help you can get. Every one needs to be psyched about paying the huge utility bills and all the stuff that goes hand in hand with all things glass.
Over the past twenty years, I've watch a number of glass programs and private shops emerge into existance. What I've observed is that glass is the most time and money consuming medium of all. The good thing is, people love the stuff and you'll find no shortage of volunteers. Make space for travelling glass artists', there's a whole community of folks that travell the nation, going from one Hot Shop to the next, looking to get in any blow time that they can get. They are the key to your programs long term success. Treat them like royalty.
Watch out though, glass is like a vampire, it will suck every unit of energy that you have. All else will suffer from neglect. It's that bad. Hence the ever urgent need for fresh blood ( visiting artist ) and money. Do yourself a favor and start finding a way to get out. Find a route for this ball to roll so that it doesn't end up crushing you. I'd suggest starting a non-profit glass program outside of school ......NOW. That's what Richard Harned at OSU ended up having to do inorder to vent all the folks that kept congragating around his program. Check out Glass Axis in Columbus Ohio........and call them for a chit-chat. A more or less successful program that has worked for twenty years without university money. You could learn from them.
Those are my encouraging thoughts.
Yet, a part of me would advize you to quit now. Unless you see yourself submiting to the " Glass God " for the long term.......pat yourself on the back ( you did good ).....then run. Seriously.
11-23-2008, 08:35 AM
Aaron raises a lot of the same questions I had - namely finding the funding to sustain your equipment/hot shop (and upgrading any required safety equipment). You must have a very supportive department!
That said, and if your school is anything like mine where every new science Prof is given well over $50k to build a lab to support their individual scholarship (I was given a mere $26k to build a full wood and metal 3D classroom) - then perhaps you can worry less about integrating the glasswork into your teaching and keep it as a set up to primarily support your own research/work. (Do you do much glass?) Otherwise, without tech support and special funding, I would be afraid of this beast keeping me from my studio.
Seriously though – crongrats! I hope to do something similar at my school with metal casting in the new year.
PS - Oh, to add to the funding conversation - you might work through the alumni and development department at your institution to hunt down a potential donor for a full studio or a support tech or a VAP program. Even if they didn't come through your department, you might find a wealthy glass/art enthusiast out there somewhere among your school's former students.
11-23-2008, 11:47 AM
Our school is kind of different, they find money when there is something they are excited about, athletics, business, and this glass studio. They have funded all of the equipment materials, while I have built everything ( without extra comp or release time). The gas that we use is paid by the general university not our department. Every year we have a small budget, and then student fees that they pay extra for art classes. I use these for any equipment upgrades that we need, and at the end of the year any extra from any art class then goes into a pot that we can use so studios like sculpture which use more than other studios like drawing can then draw off the extra. I have had to piece the sculpture studio together, getting one piece of equipment this year and another next year... We have however run out of room, having the wood shop at one end, then the metal, then the glass. We are building a new foundry outside in the spring and it looks like we will be getting an outside sculpture yard for storage and additional works space (weather permitting). To fund the glass studio we will be running summer classes for students similar to pilchuck or penland. I will be having glass artists come to teach classes using our studio and the money raised from that will help to fund the needs of the glass program. I also am going to utilize regional glass artists as guest artists to come in and work with the students and work in the studio. I understand what you say about it taking a lot of time, I will have to work that one out, I have a lot of large commission work that is keeping me busy so my full attention can't be on the glass.
11-24-2008, 10:01 AM
S?!T, the kiln that we are using temporarily was working great, kids were in all weekend working on glass. Last night it turned off, came in this morning to find that it had cooled to 460F. So we are heating up again, hopefully the crucible will not crack. Can't wait to get our gas furnace going.
the adventure continues...
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