Works’ program teaches glassblowing, teamwork


NEWARK- Taya Bigler took a glob of glass and turned it into a cup, all in about an hour.

Bigler made the cup as part of the new FireWorks! program at The Works, which teaches high school students the art of glass design, production and entrepreneurship with help from The Work’ glass studio manager Lawrence Tuber and artist-in-residence Zach Layhew.

For Bigler, one of the best parts of the 10-week class has been learning how to make items such as cups that can be used in everyday life.

“It just makes me feel like I can accomplish something that I enjoy doing,” Bigler said.

The Works previously had a similar program for teenagers, but it was specifically for kids involved in the YES Club. FireWorks! is open to any high school in the area, said The Works’ assistant director Janice LoRaso.

It was important for The Works to offer a course for teenagers because of the creative problem solving and teamwork students learn through glassblowing, LoRaso said. She added that she saw huge personal growth in the YES Club students that participated in the past.

Layhew, 23, started glass blowing when he was 14 years old at the Pittsburgh Glass Center where he found a passion for it, which Tuber said makes him the perfect teacher for the program.

Layhew said it’s amazing to watch students go from having no glassblowing skills at all to make cups in just a few short weeks.

The glasses, flowers and other objects the five students in the program have made will be sold at FAMFest, May 6-8.

“FAMFest was created to provide and celebrate transformational art experiences. We believe it’s personal, social and economic for our community, those art experiences,” LoRaso said. “It’s just really important to celebrate and give the students a chance to meet and talk to people about their art and how they feel about working with glass because it is so unique.”

The money from the products will go back into the program, which costs students $250, as a way to sustain it, LoRaso said. She added that The Works received scholarship money from Peoples Bank and the Winegardner family for the program so that students who can’t afford it can still participate.

The students in the program aren’t the only ones who can learn glassblowing. Leading up to the festival The Works is hosting events Tuesday through Friday for the general public to make either a handcrafted glass paperweight or glass jewelry in the glass studio. People can register by calling the works at 740-349-9277 or visiting

Tuber said it’s wonderful to watch people learn his craft.

“What we do here is we spread the word and I love sharing what I do,” he said.


Twitter: @MariaDeVito13

Found in The Newark Advocate April 25, 2016


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