By Catawba student Jordan Lett of Statesville, N.C.
Sparks flew in Star, North Carolina on September 20th, as students in Catawba College Professor Kimberly Smith’s First-Year Seminar (FYS), “Art Appreciation,” made a visit to STARworks N.C.
STARworks, a project of Central Park N.C., is a self-sustained glass, clay, and ceramics studio dedicated to bringing diversity and accessibility to these traditional artistic experiences. STARworks strives to provide students and up-and-coming artists with educational opportunities, such as internships, lectures, classes, and demonstrations. For Smith’s FYS students, the company prepared a demonstration and a tour.
The Catawba freshmen enjoyed a captivating demonstration from glassblowers Dahlia Bushwick and Thoryn Ziemba. Bushwick provided a step-by-step process as Ziemba skillfully crafted a glass bowl from beginning to end. The students learned about the process of heating, blowing, shaping, and maintaining glass. This demonstration helped give students a new perspective on the idea of glassblowing as an art form. The vibrant colors, elaborate shapes, and use of creativity and hard work during this process truly make the outcome an impressive show of artistry.
Following the demonstration, the students were guided through the entire STARworks building, beginning with the showroom. This room showcased the current projects recently finished, as well as some informational displays for guests to learn about the materials used in creating the showcased art. The students were then shown the clay and ceramic warehouse, where they learned about the process of STARworks craftsmen in making clay for their art. The sustainable nature of their process intrigued the students, especially the students digging their hands into crates full of clay scraps meant for reuse. The students were also enlightened by the meticulous measurements and math involved in creating clay with the same consistency. After viewing this process, the Catawba students had a new eye for the artistry of pottery and ceramics.
By the end of this visit, the students gained a new appreciation for artisan crafts thanks to the hospitality and eagerness of the STARworks employees to share their knowledge and craftsmanship. A new way of viewing art, the students concluded, is through the hard work, dedication, and community-building collaboration involved in creating expressive pieces such as the ones displayed in STARworks.
During the month of October, STARworks offers a must-see special exhibit titled “Glass Pumpkin Patch.”