All Fired Up A Sweltering Environment Is the Setting for Students Learning the Fragile Art of Glassblowing at Jacksonville University's Glass Institute

Article excerpt

Standing over a 950-degree oven is a thrill for the

Jacksonville University students admiring the fiery skills of

Petr Novotny.

Novotny is a visiting master glassblower from Czechoslovakia

who uses a special oven called an annealer to heat and cool

glass art. Fanciful shapes and brilliant hues, all in this most

fragile artistic medium, emerge from the process.

Novotny this month taught a two-week workshop on blowing and

sculpting glass at JU's Glass Institute. The Novotny workshop

and a second summer workshop, going on through July 3, by master

glass painter Cappy Thompson of Seattle, are the first of their

type offered at JU's glass studio.

"We are celebrating our 25th year in August and we wanted to

try something different," said Caroline Madden, JU assistant

professor of art. "This brings an international flavor to the

college. Czechoslovakia is a historical place for making glass."

Waterford crystal imports its glass from Czechoslovakia."

As part of the anniversary celebration, JU also will honor

former JU glass artist Mike Peiser in September during an arts

symposium and will offer several glass art workshops in December

for credit or non-credit.

Melinda Friedland, a JU senior majoring in studio art with a

concentration in glass, said during the workshop, Novotny blew

glass in the shapes designed on paper by his students.

One design was a goblet on which he made an eagle as the stem

and then enclosed the eagle with a cage, she said.

"I did a snail shell and he put on a mermaid hugging the shell,

" she said. "I have taken six to seven glass-blowing classes.

The teacher is wonderful. We watch, and we try to do what he

did."

Novotny, a glassblower for 20 years, has worked internationally

with prominent artists such as Dale Chihuly and Jiri Suhajeky in

glass design.

Thompson, who is teaching painting and firing glass enamels,

has works in several private collections including the Corning

Museum of Glass, American Craft Museum and the Hokkaido Museum

of Modern Art.

JU glass students are growing accustomed to working and

learning in the sweltering 1,800-square-foot glassblowing

studio. …

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