Friday, September 14, 2007

Second Week Photos

Microwave furnace with instructor
First cut glass example
Student engraving glass
Student cutting glass

Second Week

Greetings! This week I have been observing classes and working with some instructors. I have been focusing my research on glass cutting but also on engraving. This is the first week, however that I have been able to attend an engraving class.

The cutting class that I am most interested in is the first year class. The consecutive years seem to be working more independently with very close guidance from the instructor.

The first year students are starting at age 14 or 15. They begin with some basic cutting focused on one wheel. From this point they practice making marks on plate glass. These first cuts are arbitrary. They are left with the freedom to experiment from the beginning. As the class progresses, it becomes a little more structured. In addition to practical workshop experience, they are also lectured about cutting theory and design.

At this point I should make a note about the structure and course of study. The classes are divided into four groups, each studying for four years. The courses of study are; glass painting, glass cutting, glass engraving and lighting design. Every student is required to take drawing (from the figure), modeling (mainly from the figure or figurative elements) and science/chemistry of glass. In addition, students take theory of their discipline and have the option to take some metal working classes.

While some schools in the states require a minimal amount of drawing, it is pressed on these students for all four years. Another difference is about the science/chemistry classes. I am aware of a few schools teaching this but most are not or they focus on ceramic chemistry, which is related but still different. Also, keep in mind of the age range of these students. This information is being obtained at a young age compared to the states.

Next I had the opportunity to work with the science/chemistry instructor in repairing the microwave furnace. I have some technical background working with glass equipment but this is a new design for me. The microwave furnace is a Czech invention. The school at Kamenicky Senov has been fortunate to have one of the first there for their students to use for quite a few years.

On Wednesday I joined the head of the school, Frantisek Janak, for the opening of a Moser Crystal exhibition at the Museum of Applied Arts in Prague. It was very exciting work and very inspiring. One thing that is most exciting is the fact that I have been fortunate to meet a few of the designers recently and in the past. This offers a little more of a personal connection to the work. You can see what they are doing at:

To end the week I took some time to attend a figure drawing class in the evening. It is great to be back working with the figure directly. It has been too long to have not drawn from the figure. For an artist of any discipline it is essential.

The next week, my family and I will be attending an orientation for Fulbright in Prague. We are very excited and looking forward to meeting other Fulbright Fellows and Scholars. In addition, it will be good to meet the Fulbright staff who have been so tremendously helpful in making this experience happen.