PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — You won’t find any paintbrushes or canvases and this art class. This is a “Hot Shop,” and students from Escambia and Santa Rosa County schools are using fire to create something beautiful. They are taking part in a high school Glass Mentorship program at First City Arts Center. It’s sponsored by the Greater Gulf Coast Arts Festival.
Tim Nolan started this Glassblowing Mentorship Program nine years ago. He says that at the time, mainly adults were blowing glass, and very few young people were learning the craft. Typically, schools don’t have hot ovens and kilns for students to learn. He is always impressed with the caliber of students who are accepted into the mentorship program.
“When you see them see them make their first piece for the first time, there is nothing better than that,” Nolan said.
One of the most difficult parts of the program is learning to get used to the heat. The glass is 2200° and the students often get blisters and burns as they’re learning how to shape the hot glass. Sierra Werdann is very proud of what she’s made. She says she started off making a paperweight, then moved onto making a cup, and eventually progressed into bowls and vases. She loves the big blue floppy bowl she has made.
“I was actually talking to my family and I said that I don’t know if I want to do this as a profession, but I want to do this as a hobby for the rest of my life because I love it,” Werdann said.
The program is six weeks long, and it’s free to students. If you are interested in learning more about next year’s program, visit https://www.firstcityart.org/.