Art Department holds annual Night Blow

Patrons attend and celebrate the Night Blow event.
Patrons attend and celebrate the Night Blow event.

Last Friday evening was the West Texas A&M University Art Club’s fifth annual Night Blow event.  The evening consisted of three visiting artists from Seattle, Washington who together made two glass pieces. The visiting artists were Charlie Parriott, Katrina Houde and Courtney Branam.  Night Blow is a fund-raising event for the WT Art Club; the event helps to fund their study abroad to see art in different ways, it helps to buy their supplies. Night Blow also funds a newly started Art Club scholarship.

“We rely on our donors to help us with our fine art,” Kevan Long, a graduate student in Sculpture and Glass and Art Club treasurer, said.

Friday night was open to the public but it was also a night for the patrons.  Approximately 300 patrons filled the main foyer of Mary Moody Northern Hall for the dinner. Afterwards the patrons and public alike had the opportunity to watch the visiting artists create works of art from scratch.

“It is a great event for a great cause,” said J.T. Hanes, a patron of the Art Club.

Nearly 500 people all told were have thought to have attended this year’s Night Blow event. Along with getting to see glass art made right before their eyes, those who came were also treated to a performance by some of the WT dance majors. The dancers performed with the ovens used for heating the glass behind them as a glowing, fiery background.  Some of the performers danced on sheets of wood and inside rings of molten glass that glowed yellow-orange and caused the wood to burn where it touched.

“It is amazing to watch the artist work,” said Michael Lewis, another patron of Night Blow

Not only students studying glass making attended the event. Ceramics students also had their art work for sale.  They heat four ceramic pots in a Raku kiln that had heated them to 1,800 degrees.  Once the ceramic pots were at the correct temperature they were then placed in reduction, meaning a air tight container full flammable material. The different materials creates tints like iridescent coppers and smoky hues on the heated ceramic.

“If the heated ceramics were oxidized then they would turn green,” said Jacob Gillette, a senior art major.

A local Amarillo artist was also present at Night Blow, Christian Luginger.  He made two goblets and an ornament before an audience.

“I hope they get inspired in art,” said Luginger.

He has been working glass 15 years and studied glass blowing on the island of Murano in Italy.

“I like doing glass blowing demonstrations,” Katrina Houde, visiting artist, said. “Because it helps people create a different relationship with art – makes them closer to it.”

Charlie Parriott and Courtney Branam work together often at the Tacoma Museum of Glass where they do demonstrations of glass blowing and invite other artists to do the same. One of the things that children can do at the Museum of Glass is to draw a picture that the artists then take and make into a work of glass art.

“They are learning and we are learning,” said Parriott. “This is meant to help change the way they [kids] feel about objects in their everyday lives and engage the children in the creative process.”

In the main gallery of MMNH was displayed the work by the current Artists in Residence, Carolyn Ray.  She has been at WT for the past year and is now working on setting up a studio in Dallas. She creates her art work as she does so the “people can see the creative process,” said Ray. She has known that she wanted to be a glass artist from the age of eight.

At the Night Blow event patrons had the opportunity to purchase 30 student and professor created glass art works and two made by the visiting artists. “We are hoping to raise as much as we did last year,” Chad Holliday, Dorias Alexander Professor of Art, said.