Tulsa Glassblowing School is a nonprofit art school, and hidden gem, in the heart of the Brady Arts District downtown.
The art of glassblowing is not typical, to say the least. It involves heating glass up to 2,300 degrees in furnaces, softening it enough to be molded into another artistic creation.
The nature of the art style can be dangerous if not careful, which teaches the students discipline and concentration. Tulsa Glassblowing School is popular among veterans around Tulsa, due to the lessons it teaches.
The VETri program is a program at the Tulsa Glassblowing School that is designed for veterans to work with others who have similar experiences to one another.
“Often, when veterans leave the military, the brotherhood and camaraderie is what they miss the most,” Janet Duvall, Executive Director of the Tulsa Glassblowing School said.
When veterans return to civilian life, it is common for it to be difficult for them to interact with their families and friends, due to the traumatic experiences they have faced. This program offers veterans the chance to express their feelings through art, while also joining a tight-knit group of veterans that can relate to what they have been through.
“The glass will do what the glass will do if you are not focused,” Duvall said.
“Your mind can’t be wandering off onto all these other things that are bogging you down.”
Being active-minded is a must for glassblowing. The heat will change the glass’s form rapidly, meaning constant attention from the artist is required. The concentration in conjunction with the bit of danger is something that many of the veterans in the program will feel comfortable with.
92 percent of veterans that enter the 24 week long VETri program complete it, and 70 percent of those who complete the program come back and continue their glassblowing experience in some way, be it through volunteering, or just creating art. Veterans create lifelong friends through this program.
In addition to the VETri program, there are many other opportunities to experience and learn about glass art. Classes are offered from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Saturday.
Basic Glass Experiences are a one-time experience with a teacher working with molten glass. There are also extended glassblowing classes that meet for two hours weekly for 6 weeks.
Tulsa Glassblowing School also places an emphasis on helping the youth. The teamwork that is within the very nature of the craft teaches great life skills to young people.
There are three levels of coursework offered for students to explore glass as a medium.
Glassblowing classes are offered through the Tulsa Community College on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:30 am – 12:20 pm this Spring.
Tulsa Glassblowing School is located at 19 East Brady Street, and can be contacted at (918) 582-4527.