Isle City infused in glass

Advanced art students at Cumberland High School took a field trip to Liz Alberg’s studio to remove their finished tile works from the kiln. Shown, front row from left, are Josie Shadick, Lauren Green and Amanda Williams. Back row, from left, are Cora Grunseth, Alberg, Tyerra Naylor, Mersada Nosbush, Lauren Pruett and Elaina Bruno.

Advanced art students at Cumberland High School have completed a project that promotes their hometown.

Working with fused glass, the students and their teacher Kristin Korbel each composed a likeness of a  Main Street business in glass.

Cumberland Community Education coordinator Susan Bridger initiated a meeting of Korbel, Cumberland Superintendent Barry Rose and Cumberland resident and glass artist Liz Alberg.

“I was very excited when Liz approached me about collaborating with students on a fused glass project,” said Korbel. “This is a technique that I have not previously explored, and I knew it was an amazing opportunity. After meeting several times, we came up with a plan and theme for the project.

“This is Our City  involved eight of our advanced art students in Cumberland who spent about 2 weeks planning and executing the project,” Korbel explained. “The students learned how to score, cut, clean, arrange and glue the glass in place. They also learned about the firing process. Once the projects were complete, we were able to arrange a field trip to Liz’s home studio to remove the finished works from the kiln.  

“I cannot tell you how much everyone enjoyed this project! Liz’s enthusiasm and passion for fused glass really resonated with the students, and they put 100% effort into their pieces. While the process was difficult at times for some, Liz worked through challenges with the students and helped them become confident in their work.”

The art teacher added, “I greatly enjoyed working with Liz and hope that this is something we will be able to continue in the future.”

The artwork is on display at the Cumberland High School and can be viewed directly across from the entrance of the main office.

“The response was overwhelmingly positive from the  very beginning,” said Alberg, who applied for a grant on behalf of the Cumberland School  District to purchase supplies for the project.

The glass art educational grant was from the KBW Foundation, a nonprofit founded in 2005 by Kay Bain Weiner, a glass artist and educator. Also contributing to the high school art project were glass art enthusiasts Denny Berkery of Madison, Patty Gray of California and Heather Kremen of New Zealand.

All of the advanced art students expressed their appreciation to the KBW Foundation for introducing them to an art form that none of them had tried before.

“As for myself, I am so passionate about glass art and for me being able to share this art form with others, whether in the classroom or my studio, is my goal,” said Alberg. “It is extremely rewarding and therapeutic. I would donate my time and instruct another school classroom in a heartbeat in the future if funding were available.”

In the meantime, Alberg offers community education workshops. Upcoming ones are May 12 at Rice Lake and May 17 at Cumberland. Preregistration is required. Contact her at 612-599-2201 or lizalberg@gmail.com for details.

To follow, each of the Advanced Art students shared their thoughts on the fused glass project.

Our Place Cafe

Cumberland High School junior Mersada Nosbush said, “I enjoyed my experience working with Liz on this glass art project. I made a front view of the Our Place Cafe storefront. There were occasions where I became frustrated and things didn’t go exactly as planned, but it came together pretty well in the end.

“I think that with more practice, I would be able to create more complicated pieces. It is a time consuming process, but you get out of it what you put in. I’m very glad that the KBW Foundation gave Liz a grant so she could come teach us about the art of glass. Had the grant not been given, glass art is something I probably would have never gotten to experiment with.”

Chamber of Commerce

Senior Josie Shadick commented, “During this project and time spent with Liz, I’ve learned so many valuable lessons and a different type of art. I really enjoyed getting the chance to work with glass and Liz. She was very patient with each and every student. She also taught most of us how to overcome the frustration and look on the positive side of the project. We learned how to cut glasses, use frit, and many other steps that come with creating a fused glass project. I would recommend learning this type of art, and getting a whole new perspective on this form of art.

Enrichment Through Culture (ETC) Theater

Senior Amanda William remarked, “I am honored to say that I participated in the glass fusing process with Liz. I created the ETC because I am thankful to have a theatre to let kids express themselves through art.

“I enjoyed the shock of how hard glass fusing is but, how rewarding it is to see your piece come to life. I found the cutting part of the process hard. You can’t cut a straight line but, you can grind it down to make it better.

The process was a little rushed so it was short and sweet. Liz was very patient and kind and helped us all through it. I would like to do this again after I’ve had a little bit more experience with the art first.

Dancing Bird Art Gallery

Senior Tyerra Naylor commented, “I loved working with the glass and putting the pieces together to create art. Sometimes it was difficult, but what isn’t when you try something new?

“I overcame the difficulties and built a beautiful representation of the Dancing Bird Art Studio And Gallery shop. I tried to make the building appear as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside. I would say I did a fairly good job with the help of Mrs. Korbel and Liz.

“Liz told me what would and wouldn’t work with the glass and the image I wanted to display. She taught us how to score and cut glass, clean the glass, and glue it together.

“I learned a lot about this art form that I had never been able to do before. I think this project was a success and taught us all a lot. The project didn’t only teach me about glass art, but that things will be hard in the beginning but the more you work at it, the easier it becomes. “This is definitely something I would like to do again, maybe with jewelry or something like that next time.”

Mainstream Boutique

Senior Lauren Pruett shared, “I have been honored to be able to work with Liz Alberg on the fused glass project and making our buildings down our own Main Street, which was really cool to do. I found it fun because it was something that I never did before, nor heard of before. We were able to do buildings that we thought were cool in our town and see them come together.

“I found it challenging in a good way because it was hard to lay everything out and figure out how everything should go together and try to get straight lines was probably my kryptonite. Liz helped us when we needed help and showed us little tricks to get certain edges, and she was a great help through everything.

“The process was really fun, with trying to cut out the shapes, and laying everything together, and then seeing the final project come out of the kiln and seeing how they finally turned out with the frit and the wording on it just looked super cool when it was all finished.

Idlewild Outfitters

Junior Lauren Green explained, “With my fused glass experience we designed a storefront in Cumberland. This medium was something new to me, so I had a lot to learn. I couldn’t have done it without our amazing teacher Liz Alberg.

“Before we started studying this medium I didn’t even know this was possible. I always saw on TV melting glass and all that, but I never knew we had the capability to actually cut glass, and fuse it together. While I was making my storefront I found it difficult to get perfect straight lines, perfect exact shapes, and perfect coloring matches.

“With my previous artwork I have always strived to have every aspect of my piece be “perfect.” Liz taught me that with art the imperfections make a piece “perfect.”

“To make my piece complete I had to cut out piece by piece, and shape them how I wanted them shaped. Liz helped me get the perfect shape that I wanted. She also taught me how to use the grinder. The grinder helped us get a straight “perfect” line or curve, or whatever shape you want. Liz also helped with creative thoughts. If I was stuck and wasn’t sure what to do next she always helped me keep my mind on track and creative.

“Thank you so much for giving us students the opportunity to learn about a new medium of art that can be expressed in many ways. In the future, I do see myself trying this again with a bigger project. I think a landscape with pink and orange glass would be very pretty.”

Thomas St. Angelo Library

Senior Elaina Bruno commented, “I created a fused glass piece to represent the St. Angelo Public Library.

“The experience of working with glass was truly incredible, I enjoyed every minute of it! Although, it was a struggle to cut straight strips of glass at times, overall the process of fusing glass was great. I am grateful that Liz helped me and all of the other girls along the way, she gave excellent advice about what to do and not to do while working on our pieces. She always suggested many different ideas to help us along the way, the ideas she gave me helped me look at the pieces of glass, that I was working with, in a different way. If given the opportunity to fuse glass again, I would gladly jump aboard.”

Isle Theater

Senior Cora Grunseth remarked, “For my glass art I did Isle theater. I really enjoyed putting all my pieces together and seeing everything just fit and turn into a building. I found cutting a straight edge on the piece very challenging, because if I went slow I would shake and if I went fast it went all over the place.

“This is something I would very much consider doing again. It was so much fun.”

(Copyright © 2019 APG Media)

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