TUT staff and students at the Pilchuck Glass School (from the left) Katlego Takalo, Martli Jansen van Rensburg, Inga Lokwe, Caitlin Greenberg and Moeketsi Mangoejane.
Two lecturers, Caitlin Greenberg and Martli Jansen van Rensburg from Smelt Glass, accompanied three students, Inga Lokwe (Postgraduate), Katlego Takalo (Advanced Diploma) and Moeketsi Mangoejane (a second-year student) on this once-in-a lifetime opportunity.
"We were in total awe of the community we met and heartened at how quickly they made us feel part of this bigger glass family," says Caitlin.
Asked what the experience meant to her, Inga says: “This opportunity has opened my eyes and made me realise there’s more in me that I can achieve through glass.”
The days were jam packed, starting at 8:00 and ending at 23:00 every day.
Both Martli and Caitlin presented a workshop at the conference and also assisted other educators with their workshops. "The knowledge we gained in just a short period of time was incredible and we returned with exceptionally creative ideas on sustainability and how to change our studio’s impact on the environment," says Caitlin.
With this new knowledge, the TUT Glass Studio aims to put South African glass on the global map.
"Being exposed to the many glass galleries and seeing how popular glass, as an art medium, is in Seattle made us realise how truly fortunate we are to have glass as a creative medium back home in SA," Caitlin adds.
TUT is the only academic institution where one can study glass as a creative medium in sub-Saharan Africa. The Glass Studio is part of the Department of Fine and Studio Arts, Faculty of Arts and Design.
"We have forged connections that will change the face of TUT Glass forever and we cannot wait to see the results," Caitlin concludes.
The Pilchuck Glass School is an international centre for glass art education located on a 22-hectare rural campus, part of a 6 100-hectare tree farm. The campus has more than 60 buildings, including workshops and living quarters.