Kickstarter Campaign: Pumpkin Power – The Magic of Creative Glass Blowing.

Abby Gitlitz is the director of BCGC, she writes, "I am a longtime glass blower and I have a dream to build a safe, accessible, and educational glass-blowing studio for students of all ages in Bloomington, IN. I want to create a space where anyone can learn the unique and exciting art of glass blowing.

To make this dream a reality I established the Bloomington Creative Glass Center, a nonprofit devoted to glass arts education. We have trained over a hundred students in the art of glass blowing, but we have to travel to a studio 70 miles away, and that limits us." 

TEACHING THE ART

We learn as kids that broken glass (and anything hot) is ‘off limits’ and dangerous; but learning to work with hot glass is not as risky as it seems. It just takes the right:

  • Materials
  • Equipment
  • Instruction
  • Space (for glass blowing we call it a 'hot-shop')

Glass blowing is both science and art: a dazzling choreography of daredevil teamwork. Transforming a molten piece of glass as desired, adding luminous colors, and seeing it solidify as it cools is something magical. While mastering the art takes lots of discipline, learning glass blowing is something that everyone can do!

Pulling flowers
Pulling flowers

THE NEED

The problem is there is nowhere in Southern Indiana to make glass, so my team of dedicated volunteers and I have to drive up to Indianapolis, (over an hour away) to practice and make glass art.

So many interested students are daunted by the travel time commitment and are unable to participate. With no local glass center, we are hamstrung in our efforts to contribute to the arts-educational opportunities in our region.

I want to make the hot glass arts more accessible to our eager local community and to everyone in southern Indiana. To accomplish that we are building a fully functional glass arts education center in Bloomington with space for glass blowing, fusing, slumping, glass casting, and mosaic.

Once we are open we will expand our offerings to include workshops for people ages five and up (trust me, little kids never touch the molten or sharp glass), demos for the public, and even corporate events.

Mary and Mercy make some glass
Mary and Mercy make some glass

THE GOAL

We have not been idle. Over five years, through six Great Glass Pumpkin Patches, forty library programs, five kids’ workshops, and multiple glass fusing parties, we have raised two thirds of the money we need to open our doors.

This Kickstarter campaign will provide the remaining money needed to:

  • Purchase materials to build a furnace, kiln, and other equipment
  • Modify a physical space where Bloomington Creative Glass Center can host classes and community events, and serve as a resource for others.

THE REWARDS

Now we are reaching out to you. Please help us toward our goal of building a glass education center! And how can we thank you? Read on!

Every year we host the Great Glass Pumpkin Patch, the one time of the year you can get your own BCGC glass pumpkin. After selling over 900 hand-blown glass pumpkins at the 2015 Great Glass Pumpkin Patch, it’s clear that people go a little crazy for these beautiful, artistic glass pumpkins.

Pumpkin Crazed
Pumpkin Crazed

And for good reason: their color, vibrancy, and luminosity captivate anyone who sees them.

Stare into the pumpkin cosmos
Stare into the pumpkin cosmos

In the past you could view our glass pumpkins in the weeks before the Great Glass Pumpkin Patch, but you could not buy a pumpkin until 10:00am on the day of the Patch (getting there early is crucial!).

But this year that changes. For the first time ever we are making the glass pumpkins of the Great Glass Pumpkin Patch available to people before the October 15 event. Pledge to our campaign and you will get:

  • Delivery of your pumpkins via mail prior to the Patch (pick-up option also available)
  • The opportunity to pre-pick colors for your pumpkin
  • Want to try your hand at making your own glass creation? Pledge a little more and get your own private glass fusing or glass blowing experience.
  • Or your own Whimsical Monstrosity (creatures vary)
 
Whimsical Monstrocity
Whimsical Monstrocity

Visitors come from far and wide to experience the beauty, artistry, and fun that is created by BCGC. You are certainly still invited to attend this year’s Great Glass Pumpkin Patch and enjoy a nice fall day (October 15, 2016 - Save the Date!), BUT you can opt to have your artistic glass creation made and mailed directly to you right now.

Just rolling with it
Just rolling with it

THE PASSION

Everyone has a passion ready to ignite, sometimes all we need a little kindling and a spark to get us started. Support BCGC and be that spark. There are so many benefits to having a center where the community can engage in glass art.

Nothing is more vital than creating something collaboratively and being able to share that with others. By supporting this campaign you’re providing an opportunity for more people to engage in creativity, community, and personal growth through art.

Those who join me and BGCG will spark a fire within themselves, illuminating the possibilities in their future, providing encouragement to follow what makes them happy.

Squad
Squad

Risks and challenges

I have been an educator and glass-blower for 19 years, and have experience both running a glassblowing studio and building and maintaining glass blowing equipment. My team and I have a proven track record of being able to make production work, having made over 2500 glass pumpkins in the last 5 years. Currently we work out of a rented studio in Indianapolis, and that will be available for us to make the Kickstarter incentives while we construct our studio.
In terms of creating a space for the local community, the main challenges are: finding a location, complying with all state and national safety regulations, and any unexpected building expenses. Going forward once the center is open, the challenges will be to find renters and to fill our classes.
Given the number of people on our mailing lists who have expressed an interest in making glass, and the relationships we have begun to build with the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center and IU, we do not anticipate attendance being an issue.

Visit Kickstarter to see the video, FAQ, and more information about this project.