NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

July 18, 2014

A window into glass blowing

Salem State offers public a chance to watch artists at work

Things are heating up at Salem State, and it has nothing to do with the weather.

The furnace at the university’s Glassworks Studio is working overtime, as four artists create original pieces in glass throughout July.

“When they’re gathering liquid glass, it’s 2,075 degrees Fahrenheit,” said Jeff Mentuck, the studio manager. “Cold for us, when we put it away, is 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.”

The glass blowers are guests of the Rosenberg Institute for Emerging Glass Artists, which for the second year has selected four artists to use the studio for a month.

“We provide them with living space, and they get full use of the studio and all the tools in the studio,” Mentuck said. “If their process requires specialized tools or equipment, they bring that, and they have to bring colored glass. We supply a potful of clear glass every day.”

As part of their residency, the artists also take turns providing free demonstrations at the studio every Monday in July at 6 p.m.

Twenty-five glass artists applied to the program this year, and the four selected were Danny White from Seattle; James Labold, who is studying at Ball State in Muncie, Ind.; Joseph Ivacic from Chicago; and Miles Van Rensselaer from Hopatcong, N.J.

“Because I’m not paying for my time, I’m able to explore elements of my material deeper,” Ivacic said. “It allows me to take greater risks.”

Ivacic has been working in glass since 1998, and one of his recent series features colorful, intricate pitcher plants and orchids.

“It’s all powders that create those colors,” he said. “I’m either rolling through powdered glass or sifting colored glass.”

Ivacic, who was the first to hold an open demonstration at the studio, said he and other artists in the program tend to create their works in stages.

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