For Patrick Martin, associate professor of art, glass art is a form of communication that he can use to express certain concepts and what he is interested in.
Martin said he “fell in love” with glass forming during his senior year at Centre College in Danville, Ky. He said he was attracted to the combination of skills and talent necessary to work with glass.
“It was the idea of making things with my hands for the first time with something I (have) never really done before, just be able to use my hands,” Martin said. “The excitement around glass, hot glass, working with the flame, the fire, (and) the pyro-techniques involved – I’m a pyro.”
Martin has won many awards for his glass work. Most recently, he won first place in the Biennial 600: Glass competition held at the Amarillo Museum of Art in Texas.
“Whenever I’m making my sculpture, it all starts with whatever the concept or theme is, then I translate it into visual forms,” Martin said. “The visual forms can be fabricated to a variety of processes, blowing, sculpting (and) casting. Most of my works would be considered mix-media.”
Martin said most of his ideas come from current events, politics and personal experiences – he likes to create objects that reflect political trends.
Martin said Emporia State is the only university in Kansas that offers a glass program, and he has been teaching glass art at ESU for 11 years.
“I like working on a variety of glass processes,” Martin said. “By teaching, I keep myself fresh and up to skill with all the new techniques. I learn from my students, too …I love the fact that students become more skilled than me (and) one of the greatest satisfactions about teaching is seeing students develop a career that they love,” Martin said.
Martin said his glass classes begin by teaching students basic skills, the rules, safety procedures and how to use different tools and operate equipment in order to get the students comfortable working with hot glass.
“I think he is a great professor,” said Kelsey Lutz, senior glass forming major. “He has done a lot for the program here. We learn a lot of different types of glasses.”
Martin said glass working involves a system of teamwork, collaboration and sharing that is not required for other mediums.
“I enjoy (glass) as a medium because it is more of a social aspect – you always work with people and you are always socializing,” said Addison Hanna, sophomore glass forming major.
Martin said this week students worked with Jasen Johnsen, a guest glass artist, for the Glass Guild Blowout on Saturday, which is an annual open-house event for the glass program.
“I think all the students here are really lucky to have a professor that cares as much and contributes as much as (Martin) does,” said Megan Stelljes, a 2009 ESU graduate and Johnsen’s assistant.