Page 30 - Southern Exposure - January '22
P. 30

Page 30, Southern Exposure

                                                         arTs & enTerTainmenT

                                Learn About The Magic Of Art Glass

                                                             By J.B. Berkow, Founder and President of BCCA

        For those you who have never experienced the magic   glassblowing “Experience,” the novice can sign up for an   the fused glass on top is put back into the kiln. During this
      of working with hot glass, now you have a state-of-the-art   initial class in fusing or flameworking. If they like it, they   second heating cycle, the fused glass slumps over the mold,
      facility right in your own backyard!              can simply sign up for additional classes until they become   taking the shape of it, creating a decorative bowl, votive
        When  the City of Lake  Worth Beach inherited an   proficient in their preferred discipline. People who are not   candleholder or platter.
      Historic FEC Train Depot building, they didn’t know what   familiar with these mediums might wonder, “What are     Flameworking is the
      to do with it. But the minute that founder and professional   fusing and flameworking?”              process of working with
      artist, J.B. Berkow, entered the gigantic 14,000-square-foot     Fusing begins with cold glass. Absolutely no artistic   colored or clear glass
      warehouse, she knew exactly what to do with it! Eight years   ability is required for taking up this fun, form of expression.   rods in front of flame.
      later, after a massive infusion of cash for a major build-out   It simply involves working with different shapes and forms   The student can make
      and procurring an experienced highly-qualified staff, this   of glass available in a wide variety of colors. Frit, which   a myriad of fascinating
      once-run-down warehouse is abuzz with creative synergistic   is a crushed form of glass, can also be incorporated into   creations. Typically, the
      energy and activity.                              the designs, as well as very thin strings of glass, called   student begins by making
                                                        “stringers.” The student combines all these glass elements   a marble or a pendent.
                                                        onto another piece of clear glass. When the design is ready,   Jewelry makers love
                                                        the combination of elements and clear glass are placed into   making their own beads.
                                                        a kiln, which fuses them together. After removing the fused   Students can also make
                                                        glass from the kiln, the student selects a ceramic mold, and   sculpted pieces like the
                                                        the fused piece of glass is placed over it. The mold with   little figurines that you  A student working one-on-
                                                                                                           may have seen at art  one with a teacher in the
                                                                                                           fairs, or like those made  flameworking studio
                                                                                                           in Italy. After taking ten
                                                                                                           classes, a student may be deemed proficient enough to work
                                                                                                           on their own, and may rent studio time at a reasonable rate.
                                                                                                           An experienced instructor is always on site for guidance
                                                                                                           and assistance, if necessary.
                                                                                                             The Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts is in the process
                                                                                                           of developing a glass casting department. When this
                                                                                                           department is under way, our skilled and accomplished
      This picture was taken in the beginning reconstruction                                               staff will use this intricate and difficult technique to take an
      process. Every one of the 448 windowpanes had to be                                                  artist’s work and cast it in glass, resulting in a glass version
      replaced.                                                                                            of the original piece. To our knowledge, there is no other
                                                                                                           facility in the United States providing this service. It can be
        The center now offers beginning, intermediate, and                                                 extremely expensive and time-consuming for a sculptor to
      advanced classes in glassblowing, fusing and flameworking.   Two mothers with their sons taking a group class in the
      “The Experience” glassblowing class is an introduction that   fusing studio                          Arts & Entertainment on page 31
      gives the novice the feel for what it takes to gather glass on
      the end of a blowpipe, add color to the glass, and then blow
      or sculpt the hot glass into either a bowl, a drinking glass, a
      flower or a paperweight. Intermediate and advanced classes
      are offered in six-week sessions in the evenings. After these                                                    find dating
      more extensive courses, one should then be able to come in
      and rent studio time working one-on-one with one of our                                                     success
      staff members.

        Our  fusing  and  flameworking  classes  take  place  in                                                 in your city
      a 1,500-square-foot air-conditioned studio. As with the




      Two “Experience Classes” going on at the Benzaiten Center’s
      hot shop

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