Fiery Arts Glass Festival kicks off fall season

     

    Glass Pumpkins

    The glass pumpkins remain the most popular items at the Fiery Arts Fall Festival, as the event takes place near the beginning of the season. “Making the pumpkin stems is an art all on its own,” Palo Alto High School sculpture teacher Steve Ferrera said. Students in the glass blowing program helped teaching assistants craft pieces such as these pumpkins. Photo: Sophia Muys

    Glass collectors and art lovers alike congregated on Sept. 15 and 16 to kick off the fall season at Palo Alto High School’s glass blowing program’s fourth annual Fiery Arts Fall Glass Festival, where about 300 pieces were sold to fund future student projects and keep the glass blowing program running.  

    Tables lined the plaza outside the Performing Arts Center, laden with hundreds of glistening glass works of art, ranging from vases and cups to pineapples and acorns. Sculpture and glass blowing teacher Steve Ferrera described what draws people to this particular art medium, and what kind of attendees he expected at the festival. 

    “Glass is such a beautiful object, especially in the light, and there are so many variations of colors and shapes and sizes,” Ferrera said. “A lot of people like to collect glass. Some people wait all year to come here and add to their collection.”

    San Jose native Marsha Fong, who came to the festival after she saved a postcard advertising it, is one of these collectors. She detailed her favorite pieces that she saw at the show.

    “I really like the seashells,” Fong said. “I’m not interested in the typical vases, I’m interested in the irregular stuff.” 

    Fong was one of many attendees who preferred the more unusual pieces. Paly junior Christina O’Konski, who decided to attend after seeing the event set up at lunch, and sophomore Isabel Armstrong, who came after noticing it during theater practice, noted that they were attracted to the more odd, obscure pieces. Armstrong excitedly pointed out a small piece depicting a pink brain with clear wings, which was displayed among other whimsical pieces such as large pieces of fruit and colorful snails.

    Junior Christina O’Konski (right) and sophomore Isabel Armstrong (left) stand in front of the sale section, where pieces were reduced to half their original price. They pointed out a piece with a misshapen figure and bulging eyes featured in the center of the table. "Isn't it the greatest thing?" they said.

    Christina O’Konski (right) and Isabel Armstrong (left) stand in front of the sale section, where pieces were reduced to half their original price due to slight defects. They made a beeline for a piece with a misshapen figure and bulging eyes featured in the center of the table. “This is fantastic,” Armstrong said.

    While Paly students did not have the opportunity to sell their work during the fall festival, glass blowing teaching assistants and alumni were selling their art to benefit the program. Teaching assistant Martin Ehrensvard spoke about the experience of selling his work.

    “It’s definitely a big part of being an artist,” he said. “When pieces are sold we have space to make more, and then it also gives us the financial gains that make us able to pursue this as a career.”

    Martin Ehrensvard, a teaching assistant in the glass blowing program at Paly and a glass blowing teacher at other Bay Area schools, stands in front of his art. Ehrensvard discovered his passion for using glass as an art medium when he was a student at Paly. By the time he graduated, Ehrensvard was working over 20 hours a week in the glassblowing studio.

    Martin Ehrensvard, a teaching assistant in the glass blowing program at Paly and a glass blowing teacher at other Bay Area schools, stands in front of his art. Ehrensvard discovered his passion for using glass as an art medium while he was a student at Paly. By the time he graduated from Paly, Ehrensvard was working over 20 hours a week in the glassblowing studio. Photo: Sophia Muys

    Ferrera highlighted the importance of the money raised during the festival. One pallet of glass costs around $2,500, making fundraising events like the festival essential. 

    “All the money goes back into the program,” he said.”We have to raise a lot of money to keep it [the sculpture and glass blowing program] running.”

    Anyone who missed out on the Fiery Arts Fall Glass Festival can attend the upcoming Winter Fiery Arts Festival on Dec. 1 from 3-6 p.m. and Dec. 2 from 11-4p.m. inside the tower building.

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