Roamin' in the South Hills

Glass center reunion exhibit a medley of shapes, patterns

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Info Box: Glass art


Exploration in Glass at Pittsburgh Glass Center is a hands-on art program geared to high school students interested in glass art. Scientific principles behind glass are taught which apply life lessons such as teamwork, discipline, communication, leadership, achievement and respect. More than 500 guys and girls have participated, utilizing the center’s complex techniques to achieve highly detailed patterns, and many students receive recognition from their schools.


In recent years, construction of art glass has been rising to new levels of popularity, leading top colleges to offer courses in glass work.


Providing exceptional resources and instruction to expand the skills and knowledge of its students and artists, the Pittsburgh Glass Center strives to foster a new generation of glass artists and enthusiasts. The center’s mission is to help the city connect its history as a major producer in glass through the innovative use of glass as art.


Paying tribute to young adult artists, the Pittsburgh Glass Center will celebrate the homecoming of former high school students who are continuing their education in glass art. This first-time exhibit, “Si02 High School Reunion,” will run through Jan. 26. A reception is planned 6-9 p.m. Dec. 20 and includes a demonstration by PGC’s current high school students.


On display in the center’s Hodge Gallery, these artistic creations are the achievements of former high school students who participated in glass-making courses. Of the hundreds who joined the program, 12 young men and women continue to pursue glass as a profession.


A variety of techniques from blown to cast, engraved and flameworked art are represented in the show. Venetian-inspired goblets, pop art-style sculpted glass, engraved enamels and mixed media are featured. Other examples include glass paired with laminated and carved stone, pointing out the similarities and differences between glass and stone and works using recycled materials.


“My mom and I checked out the PGC when I was a teen,” said Andrew Certo of Mt. Lebanon. “I was amazed to watch people working with molten materials and soon enrolled in the flameworking class. After finishing a couple 10-week classes, I had the good fortune to find a used torch and began blowing glass in the basement at home. It became an obsession. I often traded an evening out with friends to be home with my materials and good music.”


As a young boy, Andrew increased his awareness of personal creativity by drawing with markers. He followed his focus and was accepted at the prestigious Tyler School of Art, following his obsession with realism and what glass can do to it. Andrew assisted professors, took on a flameworking internship and has been working with glassmakers in Philadelphia.


Kiln-formed glass (melting crushed glass to become a single piece, then shaping in molds) is Baldwin High School graduate Elizabeth Fortunato’s forte. Her talents were recognized in the glass art community as she received the Bullseye Glass Emerge 2012 award and the Pilchuck Emerging Artist in Residence tribute.


“Our reunion artists brought new ideas and techniques from their university experiences, interactions with renowned glass artists and travels around the world,” said Jason Forck, youth education coordinator at PGC.


Glassblowing refers to individually handmade items and offers the artist opportunities to create one-of-a-kind shapes through its various stages of completion. Hot glass can be worked over a mould to form the desired shape. Sandblasting the surface of glass can make a design stand out.


To learn more about the Pittsburgh Glass Center, visit www.pittsburghglasscenter.org.


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Published Dec 11, 2013 at 6:14 am (Updated Dec 6, 2013 at 3:56 pm)
Roamin' in the South Hills

Glass center reunion exhibit a medley of shapes, patterns

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