Art. Science. Business. Teamwork.
It’s hard to believe these four critical but seemingly diverse disciplines come together for a group of Keystone College students each holiday season.
That’s exactly what happens as students work to produce beautiful decorative ornaments and other pieces of expertly crafted hand-blown glass at the Keystone College Glass Studio.
With the assistance of faculty member and recognized glass artisan Jim Harmon, the students learn the intricacies of a 2,000-year old tradition as they produce items that simply cannot be matched in quality or design by mass-produced glassware. After working several days a week for about a month, the students then sell the items they produce to members of the Keystone community who buy them for their own use or as holiday presents for friends and family.
The entire experience produces a variety of benefits.
“First, they get the sense of accomplishment of using their own creativity to produce beautiful, unique works of art that can be enjoyed by others,” Mr. Harmon said. “Second, they learn about the science of how these items are produced. They also learn a great deal about what it takes to work together as a team and be responsible to each other for the final outcome. Finally, they are able learn how to market their product to others in the community. When you combine all those disciplines, you really have a great all-around experience for our students.”
“There’s a part of you in each piece you create.” ~ Senior art major Rainy Pritchett
Students involved in the program say they find it satisfying in many ways.
“From an artistic perspective, I love the fact that you have the opportunity to create something that in some way reflects your own personality,” says senior art major Rainy Pritchett of Moosic, Pa. There’s a part of you in each piece you create.”
”It’s really challenging,” says junior art major Haley Salak from Waymart, Pa. “The whole process is fast paced and you have to learn how to work quickly as a team. For the process to be successful, each person has to be able to do their own part. That can be difficult but it also leads to a great feeling of satisfaction.”
Photo Caption: Keystone College student Haley Salak and recent Keystone College graduate Shane McCall look on as Keystone instructor Jim Harmon carefully sculpts a piece of hot glass.
“It’s really great to share what I’ve learned with the students.” ~ recent graduate Shane McCall
Recent Keystone graduate Shane McCall of Clarks Summit, Pa. enjoyed the glass blowing experience so much while he was a student, he returns to campus to periodically to volunteer his time.
“It’s really great to share what I’ve learned with the students taking the course now and help out in some way,” Shane said. “Plus, the more experience I get, the more I can improve my own skills.”
So, the experience of glassblowing is one more way students can take advantage of their overall educational experience at Keystone.
“We’re the only college in the region that offers this type of training and experience. It offer so many benefits and the products we create are absolutely beautiful, said Mr. Harmon.”