“As a glass blower, I just want to strive for perfection. Each piece is more than just the last and best attempt at what I’m trying to make.”
Students and glass aficionados gathered for the opening of alumnus Travis Ison’s Bachelor of Fine Arts thesis exhibition, “Under Examination,” on Monday in the Karl C. Bruder Theatre lobby in King Hall. The exhibition is on display in the Gilson Memorial Gallery until tomorrow.
At first, Ison said he was nervous for the opening, but that it was “awesome” that he got to this point. He first started blowing glass seven years ago at Emporia High School.
“I caught onto it pretty early,” Ison said. “So it was an easy choice for me.”
Danny Shipley, senior glass major who helped Ison with one of his larger “jar” pieces, said he enjoyed seeing Ison’s work in the Gilson Gallery.
“I like the ‘Spine’ pieces,” Shipley said. “I find a lot of his work inspirational. It’s nice to see his final work in a gallery.”
Kaila Mock, senior glass major, said her favorite of Ison’s work on display is another spine piece titled “Speak Softly.”
“It looks even better in there than it does on the shelf in the shop,” Mock said. “I really like seeing his work on display.”
Ison said classical vessels, such as apothecary jars and old medical bottles, are the main influences on his work and that he likes to “put his own spin on those type of things.”
“I want each piece I make to have some meaning and story behind it,” Ison said.
Ison also said all the work featured in the exhibition was made during has last semester at ESU, except for the “Copper Spine” piece, which he made during his sophomore year.
“As a glass blower, I just want to strive for perfection,” Ison said. “Each piece is more than just the last and best attempt at what I’m trying to make. It has to match up exactly with what I’m wanting to do.”
After graduating in May, Ison spent the summer teaching glass workshops at the Jewel Gardens Glass Studio in Skagway, Ala.
“Seven days after graduation, I was on the plane to Alaska,” Ison said. “I got the chance to teach a lot of people to blow glass, (and) I got to work with a group of people with mental illnesses, homeless people and younger kids. It was really great to be able to share this art with them and teach them the process of glass blowing.”
Ison said his future in glass blowing will be spent in Seattle, Wash., continuing to make his medically-themed art and occasionally teaching workshops.
Mock said the Gilson Gallery and Norman Eppink Gallery are preparing for the next ESU art show, the Annual Faculty and Emeritus Faculty Exhibition, which will feature art made by ESU art and non-art faculty. The Annual Faculty and Emeritus Faculty Exhibition will be on display from Oct. 22 to Dec. 3.