For the past couple of months, all you’ve heard from me is a constant plea for funds to help us buy the equipment we need to set up the glassblowing shop. Perhaps for both our sakes, it would be good to go back to the original vision of the Capital Glass Collective and share with you the origins of my inspiration.
When I was at OCADU for Drawing and Painting, I lived very close by. Like, it was on the other side of the back yard of the college, kind of close by. To spite my proximity, I would often be late leaving the house. I would find myself running through the park passing clusters of Asians practicing their slow motion morning Ti Chi. I felt as if I was passing through a time warp on Star Trek. Once I would arrive at school, I would scramble to set up my easle work station in the last possible spot available for our life drawing sessions with the nude models. I always ended up in the worst vantage point, either halfway out in the hall or under the burnt out lightbulb. Out of necessity, this made me learn to paint the whole composition simultaneously and quickly as I had to play catch up all the time.
Even though it seemed like I had just arrived, at the first chance I‘d get at break time, I would dash down the hall to the other department. Peering through the windows of the doors, I would watch students working around the orange glow of a furnace. It was the glassblowing department. Eventually, I found the gumption to step inside and get closer to the action. I pretended that I belonged there. Well, that was it… I had been bitten by the glassblowing bug!
Four years after graduating from OCADU, I went to the Sheridan School of Craft and Design to learn how to blow glass for real this time. I couldn’t believe how thrilling, challenging and fun it was! I thought to myself, even back then, how great it would be to start a glassblowing program for troubled youth.
To begin with everyone would be on an even playing field. They would learn how to work together, assisting when it wasn’t their turn at the bench and also learning how to communicate their own needs clearly and respectfully when it was there turn to blow a piece. If you misbehaved, you risked getting burnt.
The running of a glassblowing shop is a joint effort. Everyone takes turns charging the furnace when it gets low. At the end of a blowing shift, you tidy up and sweep the floor of broken glass so everything is nice for the next person up. All of these aspects can be seen as useful skills that one could apply to life.
There are so many benefits to blowing glass. It’s heavy. You get strong. There’s a physicality involved, a dance, that makes you feel so alive! All this while facing the heat of the 2100 degrees furnace. You can begin to feel like you could handle anything that comes your way.
This is what I want to share with our youth at risk. I believe glass could make the world of a difference in their lives. This is also what I want to share with you.
The structure of the longer running courses at the Capital Glass Collective is to allow for muscle memory to occur. Repeating the same action to achieve a specific result, is how you get better at it. When you get to a point where you don’t need to think as much to do it, that is when you can start getting creative and explore what the glass can do for you.
We all have our own aesthetic, our own style. I want to see those who come to Capital Glass Collective, find their personal voice and express it through their glass art. Everyone has a story to tell…What’s yours?
Help us build the Capital Glass Collective, where glass and community gather creating a new generation of glass artists. Please visit our Go Fund Me campaign and enable us to get the glassblowing equipment we need to make this the best glass art shop in town.