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"Blown Away with STEAM": Ms. Czepiel's 3D Design Classes Explore Glass Arts

Valley Echo BannerAva Mania '24 
9 June 2022

GlassRoots field trip; photo credit: Ms. Czepiel

On April 12, Ms. Corine Czepiel’s 3D Design and Advanced 3D Honors classes visited GlassRoots, a “non-profit, glass arts education studio” in Newark, New Jersey. The trip was funded by the Passaic Valley Education Foundation’s mini grant, “Blown Away with STEAM.” A total of 26 students attended, who learned how to work with glass safely and creatively.

GlassRoots teaching students; photo credit: Ms. CzepielStudents observed artists as they worked making glass pieces and were then able to create models of their own, such as glass beads, mosaics, and picture frames. Ms. Czepiel hoped “Blown Away with STEAM” would help promote and build her new Ceramics and Sculpture classes, as it gave students a sense of familiarity with processes and devices like 2,000 degree torches. 

GlassRoots forge; photo credit: Ms. CzepielGlassRoots works to “ignite and build the creative and economic vitality of greater Newark”, using the art of glassmaking to engage and transform youth. “I was so happy I was able to participate in all the activities,” said Hailey Shafer ‘24. “Learning about new forms of art is always important and interesting.”

GlassRoots making frames; photo credit: Ms. CzepielStudents began making beads by heating up glass rods over open flames. “Once they began to liquify, we wrapped them around a rod and shaped our beads. We could do multiple colors and even make our own shapes!” said Shafer. They made mosaics by gluing colorful glass shards on frames. “The amazing workers at GlassRoots taught us how to make intricate designs with glass on such a small scale."

Hailey Shafer and sophomore Maya Alva feel this experience was an important and welcoming one. They wish to further explore the medium of glass art in the future. Staff spent their time instructing and assisting students, and even played music as they worked to make the experience more enjoyable. “The purpose of the trip was to provide a hands-on experience for the students that allowed them to see how professionals handled the glass,” said Alva. “It was more than just learning about it in class. Seeing it and trying it out in person gave me an experience that I had never had before.”