Today’s post comes from Afrodite Elseesy, a student from Egypt. This past summer, she came to The Studio to take a beginning glassblowing class, and stayed in Corning to volunteer and research. Here she shares her experience as a glass artist and student.
I have been exposed to all kinds of glass art techniques, yet the only technique that has been intriguing to me is glassblowing. I have studied art and design for four years glass in my home town in Egypt, and tried almost every technique by hand except glassblowing due to an inability to provide a safe environment for us students. In addition, glassblowing is still very limited in Egypt. That’s when I decided to come to CMoG to learn how to blow glass, as I have always heard it’s a great place to start with and they have a library filled with great books that can help me with my research.
It all started by a very warm welcoming by Amy Schwartz and her husband Bill at the informal dinner the night before my course started. Followed by a week filled with energy and art that was maintained by Amanda Gundy, our class teacher, and Spencer as a TA, who kept encouraging us to do our best, learn more and explore our talents without the fear of failure.
Our week started off by learning about every item that exists in the hot shop. Amanda made sure to write everything in a white chalk on the floor in front of every tool we use so we don’t forget which I personally found very creative and useful. The way Amanda handled and managed our class was very professional, she made sure that each one of us had our questions answered and that we tried as many times as possible till we got the results we desired. The atmosphere that was created along with the rest of the class made us very close and always wanting to try to blow more pieces by assisting each other, so we stayed every day till 11pm.
There were also tours that were scheduled by the Museum. They managed to show us every day something new which makes anyone’s stay in Corning very educational and inspiring.
As I’m currently doing my master’s degree in glass blowing techniques, I made sure to stay 2 more weeks after my class so I could use the Rakow Research Library that is rich with books anyone is lucky to put their hands upon. I also signed up to volunteer in The Studio, that helped me get to know and work with the technician team. Such an amazing team, lead by Harry Seaman, a great man, who is always keen to keep the place running perfectly in the best way possible.
My experience at CMOG was unforgettable and I’m definitely planning to go back again and sign up for more courses as I know I’ll always be meeting great people along the way.