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2011 spring

Welcome to the SFSU glass program web presence.  This page describes the current semester.  Other pages (the links in the blue banner at the top) contain information about past semesters, our studio, and links to other glass resources.

This course is for all levels. Emphasis is on the creation of sculptural artwork through explorations in molten glass. Technique and aesthetics will be taught. Students will have their own practice time outside of class. Course may be repeated for a total of 9 units.

This class will include of survey of glass working techniques and history as well as develop the skills required to plan, articulate, and execute designs. We will explore the changing dialogues that exist between traditional craft mediums and contemporary art through the practice of manipulating glass, drawing, and writing. You will be expected to keep a sketchbook/journal that reflects your experiences in and out of the class in regard to your creative pursuits.

blow-slot schedule

Also available here for adding to your own calendar, and as a web page.

class schedule

Mon Jan 24. First class. Introductions, studio procedures and protocol, safety, equipment operation, discussion.

Wed January 26 Slides/video conversation.

Mon January 31 (optional) Back to basics!!! (gathering, blocking, marvering, bubble starting) - please take careful notes. Conversation: "teaching and learning". Choosing blow slots.

1st assignment: "The Replica". Create four clear objects using whatever methods you like. Two of the objects must be representative of a natural form and two objects must replicate something that is manufactured. You may not choose as your subject, something that exist in the world as glass. Consider the details carefully. (Due Feb. 9 in class).

Wed February 2 Your first 5 moves. How you begin the process of working with glass has much to do with the result you get. We’ll discuss planning out your work focusing on the first few steps of the process.

Mon February 7 First 5 moves cont’d. Forming the shapes from which all things are made. Coldworking demonstrations.

Wed February 9 1st assignment due in class. Pulling, stretching, twisting, wrapping. We will examine ways of manipulating glass focusing on heat. Both technical and sculptural applications will be addressed.

Mon February 14 Visiting Artists: Fredrik Nielsen and Bjørn Friborg. More images and videos below.

Wed February 16 Conversation and technical review of visiting artist demonstration.

Mon February 21 Introducing color (bar, frit, powder).

Wed February 23 Color Cont’d. Layering, Optic molds, foil, wire inclusions. Assignment: bring in 10 designs for glass objects you would like to most use on Feb 28.

Mon February 28 Utility bowls, jars, lids, and handles, and spouts. 10 utilitarian designs due.

Wed March 2 Utility cont’d.

Mon March 7 Dissecting the Goblet into useful parts.

Wed March 9 The Goblet Cont’d (proper cup making, stem design, and blown feet).

Mon March 14 Taking the technique, but leaving the goblet behind ...

Wed March 16 Visiting Artist: Luca Rattazzi.

Mon March 21 Visiting Artist review.

Wed March 23 Mandatory clean up.

March 28-April 2 school closed for Spring Break (no class).

Mon April 4 Class resumes
A proposal for you final project due in class.
Problem solving/open forum for discussing issues and working them out in the studio through trial and error (a group exercise)

Wed April 6 A visual and technical history of the bottle.

Mon April 11 Multiple part vessels (incalmo).

Wed April 13 Incalmo cont’d.

Mon April 17 Solid working technique.

Wed April 20 Designing and problem solving sculptural designs.

Mon April 25 Unorthodox glass working techniques.

Wed April 27 The homemade molds/tools cont’d.

Mon May 2 Pulling cane.

Wed May 4 Using cane.

Mon May 9 Preparation for final critique.

Wed May 11 Last class: Final Critique.

Sunday May 15: last blowing day

Mon May 16 Mandatory final clean up.

TBD: Mike's barbequeue. 

class policies

Materials fee

There is a $262 materials/lab fee payable to the bursar's office and confirmed by a stamped form given to the instructor. Failure to do so may result in forfeiture of blow slots.


You get 2 unexcused absences during the semester. If you let me know what's going on I can excuse the absence and you won't get your third unexcused absence that will result in lowering your grade. Your main responsibility is to your blow slot and to your partner: failure to show up to and notify your partner of your absence will result in a loss of studio privileges. You should always give as much notice as possible if you can't make your blow slot.


Your grade will be determined by:

Participation/attendance 60%
Midterm critique 20%
Final critique 20%

Images and videos

Mon February 14 Visiting artists Fredrik Nielsen and Bjørn Friborg. Videos by Jim Wiltschko.

Click on one of the images below for a larger version.


Glass Blowing
ART 547

A class from San Francisco State University College of Extended Learning

Instructor Nate Watson 

Class dates Jan 24-May 18, 2011 

Class times 6:30-9:30pm Mon+Wed 

Studio closed Mar28 - Apr 2

Glass sales: TBD. Sale inventory