Students use broken glass to create art

As Jennifer Henry reached down to cut and break off a piece of stained glass, she cut her finger instead, causing drops of blood to fall to the tabletop.

She grabbed a paper towel to wipe some blood off the side of her finger and said it was nothing serious, just a knick; she’s been cutting glass for nearly 20 years.

Henry slapped on a bandage and continued as if nothing happened.

Hayley Imbriani, left, a graduate student in educational psychology from Aurora, and Amanda Togliatti, right, a senior from Braidwood studying foreign language and international trade, practice cutting glass Tuesday during the stained glass workshop at the Craft Shop. Participants in the workshop will meet each week to create their own stained glass project. – Sarah Gardner | Daily Egyptian

Not long after, others around her accidentally cut their fingers, and all appeared unfazed. It soon became clear no one was going to let a little blood get in the way of creating art.

Henry, office support associate for International Students and Scholars, was among the four participants in Tuesday’s stained glass workshop. It was the first event of a five-week program to teach people how to make stained-glass windows.

The event was held in the Student Center Craft Shop and taught by Ron Dunkel, Craft Shop coordinator.Dunkel said solid work will be displayed in the Craft Shop.

Henry said she was motivated to participate by the chance to get some of her glasswork on display.

Amanda Togliatti, a senior from Braidwood studying foreign language and international trade, said she isn’t as experienced with glass as Henry. In fact, she said she has never worked with glass.

The stained glass program started in the Craft Shop around the 1970s, and Dunkel said this year marks his 26th year teaching it.

“I’m better than I was 26 years ago at it,” he said.

For art majors concentrating on glasswork, the Craft Shop is the only place that teaches stained glass techniques, said Cortney Boyd, visiting assistant professor in the School of Art and Design.

Boyd said there is no affiliation between the school’s glass program and the Craft Shop. However, qualified students in the stained glass program can be hired to instruct at the workshop, she said.

During Tuesday’s workshop, Dunkel demonstrated the proper way of to cut the glass, a step that he said can be the most intimidating for first-time participants. This is because people are trained their whole lives to think breaking glass is a bad thing, he said.

Later, he placed perfectly cut glass pieces together like a puzzle, creating a glass portrait of a dandelion.

During last year’s event, Dunkel said he made a Saluki head with stained glass. This year, though, he said he’s interested in making a glass portrait, this time with two Saluki heads.

“We’ve been doing a lot of Saluki artwork down here, and I feel like it really kind of promotes the school spirit,” Dunkel said. “We Salukify everything.”


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