For our visit to Victoria Calabro and Urban Glass studios, students were treated to both a slide-show and a hands on project, as an introduction to working with glass. Victoria’s glass sculpture/installation work is very time-consuming, labor intensive and costly to produce, so she described tricks of the trade like exchanging time with other artists, helping to manage the glass studio in exchange for workspace, and teaching and doing commercial glass work projects to earn the money needed to pay for buying glass and using the glass-blowing studio next door. Victoria described her process in making the twisted glass picture frames that are prominent in some of her installations, and look like they are melting. She creates molds out of picture frames to shape the glass, then melts and twists the glass frames in the hot glass studio, to achieve her signature warped shapes.
Though Victoria’s process in making such pieces involves many steps, she enabled the Art Ready students to experience a much faster way of working with glass. Students were given blank drinking glasses to decorate with stickers and tape. After decorating, students took their glasses to a sand-blasting machine, which covered their glasses with a frosty coating, leaving the patterns formed by the stickers as clear glass. Each student was able to take home an original creation, and learn one of the many ways to manipulate glass into something artistic and functional.