Gather Glass: Blowing Glass… and Minds
Hot. Glowing. Molten glass illuminates the glassblower’s studio as they risk high temperatures and defy the laws of physics for their art. “Glassblowing creates not just an object, but a spiritual connection to the object. It is a relationship,” says Benny Giguere, a glassblower and instructor at Gather Glass in PVD. There is more than meets the eye when it comes to the simultaneously artistic and functional craft of glassblowing.
Fostering this relationship with glass every day, Giguere remarks that he still has fun when working with beginners in his classes; “the glitter in their eyes” reflects the way he felt when he began the craft decades ago, and continues to feel today.
“They get really excited about how hot it is, the sheer temperature being over 2000 degrees. When they mentally take a step back, it opens up a different part of their mind that is typically not open in our daily routines of everyday life,” says Giguere. “Glass has a mysterious allure… most people don’t understand how it works. So when they put those puzzle pieces together, they say, ‘Oh wow, this is how glass is blown.’”
Giguere’s business is centered around making glassblowing an experience for anyone who wants to try or practice it. “We want the studio to be an all-inclusive space, from people with disabilities to people who are nervous about trying something new.”
For Giguere, working with glass is special because of the “translucency, the color options, the technique. It really involves your whole body.”
“It’s kinda like a dance. You’re changing something from a liquid to a solid. It is alive in that sense. You have to have a conversation with it,” says Giguere.
Working with glass requires constant movement, and as a result, requires lots of thought before heating the material. It creates functional objects that represent not just the material, but also a connection to the person who created it.
Glassblowing is a meticulous and rewarding craft, allowing the artist to exert total creative control over the object in a process that engaged both the entirety of the mind and body. “Glass has a mysterious allure that most people don’t understand.”
Giguere explained that for the beginner, glassblowing provides a sense of pride and accomplishment. To become a professional, however, “it’s literally thousands of hours.” yet when you take a class, you realize that it is not an unattainable craft to master, but one that requires dedication and consistency. For those interested in experiencing this artistic process, book a class through the Gather Glass Blowing Studios website.
“I feel lucky that I get to do it,” Giguere says.
Benny Giguere and Gather Glass Blowing Studios can be found at 521 Atwells Ave, PVD.