Sadhbh Mowlds, a second year MFA student from Ireland, works in the glass blowing hot shop at SIU in Carbondale, Ill. Feb. 12, 2021. “It was really last minute that I decided to get a master’s. I was just feeling like I was in a rut and North America has the best reputation for glass schools,” Mowlds said.
Sadhbh Mowlds, a second year MFA student from Ireland, works in the glass blowing hot shop at SIU in Carbondale, Ill. Feb. 12, 2021. “It was really last minute that I decided to get a master’s. I was just feeling like I was in a rut and North America has the best reputation for glass schools,” Mowlds said.

From Ireland to the United States: International student pursues glass blowing at SIU

March 6, 2021

Living 3,916 miles from home in a different country is hard enough, but trying to do so during a world-wide pandemic is much harder. 

Sadhbh Mowlds, an international student from Dublin Ireland, is in her second year in her MFA in glass blowing at SIU.

Mowlds came to the United States to study glass blowing because it was “affordable and North America the best glass blowing school reputation.”

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Before attending SIU in 2014, Mowlds received her bachelor’s degree in glass at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin.

After school in Dublin, she worked at a small glass studio, Berlin Glas, for five years where she took commissions with artists and designers and instructed outreach programs and workshops. 

“I would have really liked to have gone home for winter, but it just wouldn’t have been possible,” Mowlds said. “I managed to get back to Europe during the summer when everything happened and I was able to get back into Ireland just because I have citizenship there, but it took me a long time to get back into Germany. I tried to get a flight from Ireland into Germany and that didn’t work, they wouldn’t let me out.”

After coming back to the U.S. in the fall of 2020, Mowlds said she had to quarantine after reentering the country and wasn’t able to go back to Ireland for winter break.

“It’s weird having Christmas here alone and Zooming with my family on Christmas Day. I’m not a big Christmas person, but I miss people,” Mowlds said.

Mowlds said she spends most of her day in the glass blowing hot shop at SIU.

“It’s pretty intense here. We have to work 20 hours, we have other classes and if you have a three hour blow slot, you have to assist someone else for three hours so it’s like nine hours in the hotshop is actually 18 hours and then trying to do your own work with your spare time,” Mowlds said.

Although the U.S. has a lot of fine art glass opportunities, Mowlds said she would like to return to Ireland after school.

Mowlds said she misses the music, the Irish traditions and little things about Dublin.

“The people in Dublin are so funny. Irish people are really funny and I only just realized that when I left,” Mowlds said.

Photo Editor Leah Sutton can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @LeahSutton_

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