Glass is one of the world's most versatile and useful substances. And after
an education in the glass arts, you'll be versatile and useful too.
Hot glass students study how to make and form objects with glass.
They either blow it in a pipe, or form it with a mold and bake it in a kiln. Stained
glass is another field in art related to glass -- making windows like
the ones that grace cathedrals.
Graduates will be ready to become professional glass artists or go into
scientific glass blowing (making beakers and bottles).
Glass programs of all types are usually offered in four-year art colleges.
Many private institutions also offer summer or one-time courses in glass blowing
art. The Pilchuck Glass School in Washington, for instance, offers a well-known
three-week course in glass blowing.
A very limited number of community colleges offer glass diplomas.
"A lot of people have a career in glass that don't go to school at all,
[but] I really don't recommend it, because most of those people have a hard
time. An art education is a good idea if you're going to make a living
in art," says Norman Faulkner, coordinator of a glass program.
Most programs will train you in the skills to work with glass at a basic
level. In hot glass, you'll spend many hours in a glass room, where the
glass blowing furnace or kiln can make things very hot.
In glass blowing, sand is melted to extreme temperatures and blown into
shape. In kiln work, bits of a "kiln" or heating furnace bakes the glass into
its final form.
In the art programs, the goal is to train you as an artist. Courses will
include a general grounding in glass in your first year. You'll learn the
terminology, and what makes glass do the things it does.
As you progress, you'll take more specific courses in glass, such as advanced
glass blowing or kiln working techniques. You may even study the way light
refracts through glass, and the visual effects it creates.
Ceramics and pottery courses will give you good experience. But
any education in glass comes down to the ability to concentrate and visualize.
"Certainly watching the process will help -- any chance they get
to visit a glass studio, or a trip to Venice would be nice," jokes Faulkner.
Venice is the world capital for all things glass.
In addition to tuition, expect to pay a little extra for materials. Glass,
especially the colored kind, can be expensive.
Occupational Outlook HandbookFor more information related to this field of study, see: Artists
and Related Workers
Fun With GlassA glass program for school groups -- maybe there's one in your
United Glass BlowingCheck out what you can do with glass