Jean Fernandes, adjunct professor of glass art at UTA, was recently selected as the winner of a 2015 Niche Student Award for her glass artwork.
The award recognizes excellence and innovation in both student and professional divisions.
“The piece took a couple of months,” Fernandes said. “The nice thing about the award is they allow you to apply up to a year after you graduate.”
Fernandes’ winning piece is called “Involution.”
“The piece that was accepted into the Niche Award is part of a series I’m doing that tracks the national flow pattern of glass,” Fernandes said. “I’m very interested in the scientific aspects of glass. That was a whole exploration of how the shape that glass is cast into affects the movement of the material through the space.”
Fernandes said she doesn’t use much color in her glass art.
“If I use color, it’s usually in the grey, white, and black color spectrum,” she said.
Fernandes said she follows a technique called casting.
“We start very similar to how you would cast almost any material, which is we start with a model,” Fernandes said. “In glass we start with a brown wax and we build a refractory mold around that. Then we melt the wax out of the mold and we put glass into the mold.”
She said the thickness of glass can also play a part in the casting process. Anything under an inch takes one to two days in the kiln, the oven where glass takes its form. For Fernandes, her castings are three inches and spend a week in the kiln.
“Essentially you can get any shape that you can have in a wax or clay form, you can translate that to glass,” Fernandes said.
Fernandes teaches beginning and advanced glass art. She says the beginning classes are an introduction to the variety of processes and the advanced classes offer more advanced techniques from those processes.
“In the beginning classes we cover flat glass, two dimensional drawing work and any translations from other mediums, like how photography can be translated into glass,” Fernandes said.
Fernandes said she got into glass art during her undergraduate degree at San Jose State University.
“I was impressed and taken aback by it,” she said. “Then I took one glass class and I got hooked. It’s hard to be exposed to this material and not get drawn in.”
Fernandes enjoys teaching students the many techniques for working glass, even if they are new to it.
“It’s really nice to see students start with no knowledge of the process and then be presenting you with ideas and techniques that they are exploring,” Fernandes said.
Art junior Kyle Thompson enjoys learning the many techniques the advanced class teaches.
“Taking it as advanced is definitely a ton of fun because in advanced we learn a lot more stuff that we don’t learn the first time around,” Thompson said.
Thompson said the advanced class is more open-ended, giving the students the freedom to learn more about techniques.
Faculty around the Studio Arts Center said they are proud of Fernandes for her recent award.
“It’s a wonderful thing for her to win that award and then get that exposure of having the work actually shown at the event,” said Justin Ginsberg, assistant professor of art and art history and glass program coordinator.