Artists experiment with fire during special activity

   A special guest visited the art rooms last week when advanced ceramics and sculpture class combined with advanced art students for a chance to see a WHS staff member in a new light. On-site technician Mr. Jeff Pedroza showcased his unique talent of flame work, taking a torch and using it to melt colorful glass and twist it into shapes and strands.

   “We started glass fusing in advanced art and sculpture classes so (Jeff) would check in to see how it was going. I thought it was fun for kids to see and demonstrate,” Ms. Lindsay Atlas said.
   Students had the opportunity to interact and test out flame work. Saba Rahman was one of the first students who got to work with the torch.
   “It was so cool; it was my first time,” Rahman said. “It was exciting working with the fire and the products afterwards.”
   The demonstration involved melting glass over an open flame and twisting two or more colors together. Flameworking wasn’t always known as flameworking. It used to be called lampworking because before there were torches, artists would use oil lamps. Flameworking was mainly practiced in Murano, Italy back in the 14th century. In the mid 19th century, France took it to the next level and practiced it more as an art form. Flameworking differs from actual glass blowing, where one would use a blowpipe to inflate a mass of molten glass by blowing into a blowpipe, whereas flameworking uses a torch and varius tools to manipulate the glass and colors. Pedroza is one of these artists.
   “I started seeing glass beads at craft shows and I decided to try it myself. I’m self-taught. It’s a very very relaxing hobby for me,” he said.
   Pedroza started flameworking after his wife began taking classes at Sierra. His favorite part of the class activity was the interaction with students and showing them how to try it themselves.
   “It’s very gratifying to see what you’ve done,” Pedroza said. “People shouldn’t be afraid to try new things. Life is too short to do nothing.”
BY Ashley Fine