Friday, March 2, 2012

School Glass Installation

Last November, I became involved in a program for a charter school here that they call "Discovery". I was asked to teach two groups of students (grades 1-3 first for 4 weeks, then grades 4-6 for four weeks) about fused glass. This ended up being such a fun project!

First of all, I have never been in a situation where small-fry kids opened the door for me! It seemed every time I was hauling stuff in and out of the library, where our "class" was set up, there was a student there holding the door for me, and not just the older students. There were hardly any discipline problems for the two hours each day I had the students, and they really seemed to have fun! For the younger grades, I already had the glass cut for them, and I cut any additional pieces they may have needed. The older students were taught how to cut the glass themselves. They were taught about compatibility and melting temperatures. I showed them a video of how glass is made and they tried their hand at making frit. They made drawings of their glass ideas and then put glass pieces together that I took home and melted in my kiln. The last day of each module, the students split into two groups, one group would tour the other Discovery groups to see what they did, the other group presented what they learned to the other students. Of course, they switched half way through.

Each student made 6-10 pieces. There were almost 200 pieces used in the actual installation, each student got one piece to keep, and the rest were made into magnets for school fundraisers. This week, the two ladies at the school responsible for the Discovery events and I arranged the various glass pieces to go on a glass window over the library doors.It took about 5 hours to silicone and tape each one of these pieces into place (with help from those wonderful ladies during the last hour!)

We decided to match up each piece with another one of similar size, and put the fused pieces on both sides of the glass, so that you would see the art no matter which side you were on. The library is directly in ahead of the front doors of the school, so people will see the pieces when they walk in the door, and the students can enjoy the art while they are reading or on the computers in the library.

I went back today and did the final touch ups. I love the bright colors! It was so fun to watch the reactions of the students and teachers as they walked by and saw the project take shape, the students who were involved smiling as they found a piece that they had done.

They've invited me back for this next fall, and we've discussed some ideas. While it's a lot of work for 8 straight weeks, I've decided that end result is so worth it! I really look forward to going back!

Design by Duane Miles, beaded by Kerry