This weekend marks the 6th annual GlassFest, a four-day celebration of the fire arts in America’s Crystal City. A highlight of the event is watching live glassblowing on the stage in Centerway Square in Corning’s downtown Gaffer District. The Museum takes the Hot Glass Demo on the road, sharing the experience with GlassFest attendees every hour on the hour. The majority of the GlassFest events are free and open to the public, including live glassblowing.
Glassblowing has been a tradition in Corning for more than 160 years, and a team from the Museum is excited to showcase the fine craftsmanship this art form demands during GlassFest.
Originally from Detroit, Michigan, G Brian Juk studied fine arts at Alfred University in Alfred, NY, before moving to Corning to work at The Corning Museum of Glass. G Brian’s work is focused around vessels, incorporating lots of color and pattern into pieces meant to be highly functional. “There is no other place in the USA that has such a rich tradition, or is as historically important with glass as Corning, NY,” Juk said.
Jamie Perian will also be showcasing her glassmaking skills during GlassFest. Originally from New Jersey, Perian started working with the Hot Glass Show in 2010, and enjoys being surrounded by the community of glassmakers in Corning. “Corning is a supportive, positive, and encouraging environment,” she says. This will be her first year on the GlassFest demo stage, and she is looking forward to sharing her art with event attendees.
Originally from the Chicago area, Heather Spiewak came to Corning to “create a good foundation for my career as a glassmaker.” She continues to stay because she knows there’s no better place in the world to hone her skills. “Working with glass in Corning has been surreal,” she said. “The variety of glassmakers who come through is fantastic! I have the chance to watch and learn from many types of gaffers with different techniques, some of them world-renowned.” This will also be Spiewak’s first GlassFest, and she’s “eager and excited to celebrate glass with Corning!”
Originally from New Jersey, Tom Ryder is now part of the Museum’s traveling demonstration team, but it’s the people that keep drawing him back to Corning. “There are great people that are passionate about working with glass, sharing ideas, and working together to create amazing things to share with the world,” Tom said. He has been involved with GlassFest in the past, and loves the energy that surrounds the event. “GlassFest brings a lot of people who are excited about glass to Corning,” he said, “and as a demonstrator, we feed off of that energy when we share our passion and knowledge with an audience.”
Watch G Brian, Jamie, Heather, and Tom create glass masterpieces before your eyes at GlassFest this weekend. Live glassmaking sessions will take place in Centerway Square on Friday, May 22 from 2-9 p.m., Saturday, May 23 from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and on Sunday, May 24 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.