Local high school students participate in glass blowing workshop at Keystone College

By Elizabeth Baumeister - ebaumeister@timesleader.com
Destiny Moon, left, and Anna Brock work with heated glass during a glass blowing workshop for high school students at Keystone College. - Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal
Abington Heights sophomore Anna Brock shapes hot glass into the form of a cat, while another student uses a wooden block to shield her skin from the extreme heat. - Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal
Shannon Baransky, left, opens a furnace door for Anna Brock to retrieve melted glass at the Keystone College glass blowing studio during a workshop for local high school students. - Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

LA PLUME — Students from six area high schools gathered over the past few weeks at Keystone College to learn an art medium different from any they’ve ever experienced: glass blowing.

The workshops, funded through a grant from Lackawanna County’s Arts Engage Program, will culminate with a glass blowing demonstration in which the students will participate during the annual Arts on Fire event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 3 at the historic iron furnaces in downtown Scranton.

The workshops were taught by Keystone glass artists and instructors Jim Harmon and Michael Swanson with the help of three Keystone students. Participating high schools included Abington Heights, Howard Gardner, Scranton, Scranton Prep, Lackawanna Trail and Tunkhannock Area.

Three friends from Abington Heights, Shannon Baransky, Anna Brock and Destiny Moon, all sophomores who attended the class together, agreed their favorite part was learning to make small glass beads.

“I thought it would be a really cool experience…and it’s an art medium I’ve never tried before,” said Baransky, adding she enjoyed “pretty much everything about it.”

“I would recommend it to anyone else who enjoys visual arts,” she said.

As a student artist, Baransky enjoys working with a variety of artistic mediums, including photography, painting, drawing, sketching and clay.

Brock said she loves many types of art as well, but especially enjoys 3D art. She previously worked with clay and wire, but this was her first time working with glass.

“It is much more temperamental,” she said, comparing glass to other 3D mediums. “You have to work pretty quickly and keep it at a specific temperature. Once it’s at a good temp, it’s much more easy to manipulate.”

Moon, who also works with painting, sketching and photography, said the best thing about working with any medium is being able to express herself through art.

“I really liked making the marbles – those were so cool,” she said of the glass workshop. “I just love the little things.”

Jonah Lambert, another Abington Heights student, enjoyed learning to make the smaller items as well, but his favorite was working in front of the furnace creating larger items.

“It’s just so cool to see it (glass) in another state,” he said, explaining people are used to seeing glass as a solid, rather than a “glob” that can be sculpted into any shape one desires.

“They teach you a lot,” he said of the workshop.

According to Harmon, the class met for three hours three times a week for three weeks covering a wide array of skills with hands-on learning. The instructor said at the end of the workshop each student will go home with two projects he or she made – one a glass ink stamp and the other a small glass animal of his or her choosing.

“They’re making penguins, they’re making pigs, and ducks…all kinds of fun stuff that teaches them skills,” he said.

Destiny Moon, left, and Anna Brock work with heated glass during a glass blowing workshop for high school students at Keystone College.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_ABJ-Glass-1.jpgDestiny Moon, left, and Anna Brock work with heated glass during a glass blowing workshop for high school students at Keystone College. Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

Abington Heights sophomore Anna Brock shapes hot glass into the form of a cat, while another student uses a wooden block to shield her skin from the extreme heat.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_ABJ-Glass-2.jpgAbington Heights sophomore Anna Brock shapes hot glass into the form of a cat, while another student uses a wooden block to shield her skin from the extreme heat. Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

Shannon Baransky, left, opens a furnace door for Anna Brock to retrieve melted glass at the Keystone College glass blowing studio during a workshop for local high school students.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_ABJ-Glass-3.jpgShannon Baransky, left, opens a furnace door for Anna Brock to retrieve melted glass at the Keystone College glass blowing studio during a workshop for local high school students. Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

By Elizabeth Baumeister

ebaumeister@timesleader.com

Reach Elizabeth Baumeister at 570-704-3943 or on Twitter @AbingtonJournal.

Reach Elizabeth Baumeister at 570-704-3943 or on Twitter @AbingtonJournal.