Glass studies can be found at a number of institutions across the country, but the one that seems most natural to me is at the University of Washington (UW). Why? Well, it’s my alma mater (go dawgs!). But more importantly Seattle and its environs are glass blowing country. Think Dale Chihuly and Pilchuk, which he co-founded. So when I read this morning that the UW School of Art has received a gift of two glassblowing furnaces to further its program I was thrilled. Glass is part of the art school’s 3D4M (Three Dimensional Forum) program, offering students the opportunity to earn a BFA by studying sculptural form through ceramics, glass, wood and metal. The relationship gives undergraduates the ability to develop a broad understanding of three-dimensional concepts through a variety of media.
The program received a kick-start when Mark Zirpel (Dale Chihuly Endowed Chair) joined the faculty in 2008. Under his direction the school has created studios for three of the four major components to a world-class program; warm glass, cold glass and lamp glass. With the donation of two hot furnaces by local producer, glassybaby, students will be able to learn how to blow hot glass while receiving a comprehensive glass education.
Future career opportunities are greater than one might originally think. The UW Career Center provides a wealth of services for all students and alumni. Career paths for art school graduates include artist, art education, curator, and museum management to name a few. If industry is your interest, check out Glass Magazine. A search through their 2012 product and project award winners will give you an idea of how the artistic appeal of glass is incorporated into the corporate world. And the magazine’s new online employment center connects job seekers with those in the industry.