Schools with Glass Blowing Programs: How to Choose

Glassblowers use torches to heat glass to a melting temperature. Using their own breath, they shape and form the molten glass into plates, vases, bottles and sculptures. Across the U.S., colleges and universities offer glassblowing courses and degree programs in glass.

How to Select a Glassblowing School

Glassblowing can be used for art and science. Artists can manipulate molten glass into aesthetic designs and forms to create sculptures. Glassblowing is also used to create test tubes for scientific laboratories. Those with an interest in glass as an artistic medium can enroll in individual glassblowing courses or bachelor's and master's degree programs in fine arts, with a focus on glass.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • School facilities
  • Career preparation

School Facilities

When selecting a school, students may consider the characteristics of available facilities such as the size of the studio, different rooms for working with hot and cold glass and flame working rooms. Working with hot glass requires a great deal of equipment, including a furnace, annealing ovens, a torch and shaping tools. Some schools offer plentiful equipment and small class sizes, which can provide all students with a chance to use each type of equipment.

Career Preparation

Because glassblowing is a very unique ability, students may look for programs that emphasize professional development to secure a job after graduation. Some schools offer residency programs in an art studio, which may be ideal for those looking for practical experience in a studio environment. For aspiring business owners, many programs include business courses and portfolio development. To gain recognition in the field and create a clientele, students can look for programs that culminate in a student exhibition.

Glassblowing Program Overviews

Glassblowing Courses

Glassblowing for the scientific field is often offered as a single course through a school's chemistry department. Many universities have a glassblowing facility on campus where students learn to fabricate a variety of scientific apparatuses, including distillation equipment, laser tubes and condensers. Alternatively, some community colleges offer individual courses in glassblowing for aesthetic purposes in which students are introduced to the techniques of heating and manipulating glass.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Glass

Bachelor's degree programs cover a variety of uses for glass. Students may check the courses available to ensure a glassblowing course is included in a program's curriculum. In the final year, students typically work to develop a coherent body of work. Graduates may work as artists, designers, business owners and educators or in art galleries. Common courses may include:

  • Glassblowing
  • Stained glass
  • Casting
  • Sand carving

Master of Fine Arts in Glass

Those in Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs can expect to engage in artistic critique and develop a portfolio. Graduate students might also have the opportunity to experience professional development through assistantships. Courses include studios in which students can develop their aesthetic senses and seminars in which students learn design forms and review the works of other artists. MFA students commonly take classes such as:

  • Art graduate seminar
  • Thesis research
  • Art history

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