All Fired Up A Sweltering Environment Is the Setting for Students Learning the Fragile Art of Glassblowing at Jacksonville University's Glass Institute
Respess, Susan P., The Florida Times Union
Standing over a 950-degree oven is a thrill for the
Jacksonville University students admiring the fiery skills of
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
Novotny, a glassblower for 20 years, has worked internationally
with prominent artists such as Dale Chihuly and Jiri Suhajeky in
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