Let's Talk About Art: Pittsburgh Glass Center fires up The Idea Furnace

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The Pittsburgh Glass Center is looking for ideas to heat up in the furnace.

The Idea Furnace is an experimental design program to connect non-glass artists with glass artists and encourages exploration in other art forms.

Jason Forck, the glass center's youth education coordinator, created the program to bridge the gap between glass and other art and design media. "We want to educate young artists about glass, give them access to the material and help them advance their ideas," he said.

Once a month, an artist or team of artists will be invited to the glass center to discuss their ideas, learn about the glass-making process and watch their design come to life.

The Idea Furnace, which is free, just had its October session. Artist Juliet Pusateri proposed making a pea, a pearl and an egg -- images she uses in her paintings. She wanted to incorporate three-dimensional glass objects into a future exhibition.

Mr. Forck says it's not as easy as it sounds. "If the objects are clear they won't be distinguishable. We have to identify the perfect color, shape and texture."

The concept of The Idea Furnace grew out of a recent artist residency at the glass center with Gwylene Gallimard and Jean Marie Mauclet. They had big architectural ideas for their exhibition "Ten More Years on Penn" but had no glass experience. They worked with artists at the glass center and challenged them to create structures that had never been created before. The result was a 7-foot glass bridge.

"The Idea Furnace is great for us as glass artists because it gives us a challenge and helps us have a better understanding of the material," Mr. Forck said.

He sees The Idea Furnace like an incubator for ideas to grow and evolve. In the future, he imagines ideas that start small and grow into larger projects, and Mr. Forck hopes to see some of these projects result in exhibitions at the glass center.

Ideas can be submitted by the first of each month for the next month's session. Questions? Call Mr. Forck at 412-365-2145, ext. 203.

Pittsburgh Glass Center and Pittsburgh Center for the Arts/Pittsburgh Filmmakers collaborate frequently on workshops, programming and administration. Visit pittsburgharts.org and pittsburghglasscenter.org for details.

-- By Paige Ilkanipour, marketing director, Pittsburgh Glass Center

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This is a biweekly series about art and artists in the region. Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts serves the community through arts education, exhibitions and artist resources.


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