The art of glassblowing dates back to the first century AD. But these days you can see it practiced as artist sculpt molten glass with steel tools to create everything from high-priced chandeliers to inexpensive Christmas ornaments. It’s nothing short of alchemy. And though many of the techniques have been around for centuries, I’m not sure old school glassblowers were making glass carnivorous plants to decorate their walls.
At San Francisco’s Public Glass, locals have the opportunity to get hands on experience in this ancient and evolving craft.
The organization’s executive director, Nathan Watson, says his mission is to ensure that Public Glass isn’t just located in the Bayview neighborhood, but actually involves community members in their work.
Just last month, Public Glass completed their Bayview Gateway Project, a set of eight-foot tall concrete letters adorned with mosaic tiles made from old glass objects that community members donated; the letters read “BAYVIEW” and are located at Third Street and Meade Avenue.
Although some glassblowing artists have recently returned to the studio, traditional classes aren’t currently open to the public due to COVID-19 safety precautions. But the organization will be hosting an open house on October 16 and 17.
Ahead of that event, the Rightnowish team caught up with Nate inside the glassblowing studio, and discussed what it means to lead an organization that’s keeping this ancient art form going by bringing community members into the fold.
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