FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – There’s a school in Fort Worth that’s taking in students of all ages, from all around North Texas. The lesson plan: fire up your creativity and learn how to make unique glass-blown art pieces.
Glass-blown creations begin with a scorching hot furnace, before cooling down and becoming one of thousands of pieces ever created at the SiNaCa Studios facility in the Near Southside neighborhood. The place, however, is more than just an art gallery.
“We do a lot here at SiNaCa. We’re a non-profit focused on education, so we get a lot of people from all over North Texas to come take classes,” said Clifton Crofford, one of the founders.
Crofford and Kevin McGehee started their organization 6 years ago, with the goal of teaching others about the skills and discipline involved in making glass art.
“It’s a wonderful medium,” Crofford explaind. “You can make it look like stone or wood or bone or a beautiful, polished piece of glass.”
The love of the art is something the men enjoy sharing with others. SiNaCa Studios has a partnership with the Fort Worth school district, and one of its programs teaches teachers. Through this, art teachers come here to learn, and then pass new lessons to their students.
CBS 11 reporter Elizabeth Dinh was next to be a student who was eager to step into the studio. McGehee helped show her the ropes: “So I’m getting a single gather of glass out of our furnace. This glass is running at 2100 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s about the consistency of a thick honey or a watery taffy.”
Learning at SiNaCa is literally hands on.
“Pull back, keep rotating. Slide your left hand all the way up to here for balance,” McGehee explained. “We’re going to lift off of our bearings, we’re going to go to our white.”
He helped her reheat the hot glass with the white color, before taking it out to add in some blue color to the piece. “You’re going to lift up, you’re going to land in this block, you’re going to rotate really fast,” McGehee told Dinh. “And what it’s doing – is actually gripping that material and spinning around itself.”
Next was the glass-blowing part, where a tiny bubble gradually changed the entire form. After making what was like a “pbbfft” sound, McGehee point to a little bump in the piece that started to round out. He then put it into a form with ridges to give it more texture.
Dinh received her next instruction, to air out her lungs. McGehee instructed: “Nice big chipmunk cheeks, blow it up blow it up blow it up, everything you’ve got.” The piece got bigger and rounder, a shiny sphere.
And in what took less than half an hour, a Christmas tree ornament finally took shape. Pieces like that then go into a cooler oven for 9-12 hours before sitting for 12 more hours at room temperature.
Students can take classes at SiNaCa that are as short as 20-minute-long workshops, six-week classes or even extended programs. Classes range from $40 to $600. SiNaCa Studios has an open house every second Friday of the month.
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