Glass as a means of expression

Stoke the flame of your imagination, innovation and artistic aptitude at the University of Montana Western’s glass studio. The university provides course work specializing in the many facets of glass working: hot shop, torchworking, fusing, casting and coldworking. Students will learn to work with glass, both towards technical mastery and as a material adept at articulating conceptually-driven artwork.

Glass is a material steeped in thousands of years of tradition. Montana Western teaches techniques that were developed and refined by world cultures. Students strive to learn and improve their abilities with the material, but do not limit themselves to material inquiry alone – they work with the material as a means of expression. Glass is a philosophy as much as a material with which the artists/students can share their ideas with the world. Our students combine technique and tradition with research and innovation in order to create well rendered and original artworks.

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Equipment/Facilities

Hot Shop

Montana Western has a 2000 ft2 hot shop with an Electroglass electric furnace that holds 300 pounds of molten glass. The shop has two glory holes: one hole is 18” diameter x 30” deep, and the other is 12” diameter x 24” deep. Both holes have rolling yolks and a dedicated bench. The studio also has an assistants bench, many hand tools, bench torches, oxygen/propane torches, a powder booth, pipe warmer, pick up oven, three top-loading annealers and one Wet Dog front-loading annealer. A brand new garage by Canned Heat Glass was just installed. The studio is equipped with both intake air, and exhaust hoods over all the equipment. The hot studio is also equipped with ladles for hot casting, kiln casting ovens and fusing ovens.

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Torchworking Studio

The fine arts department has just expanded its glass studio by another 2000 ft2 in order to add a dedicated torchworking studio. The studio is equipped with over 20 torch stations, each under newly installed exhaust hoods. Bethlehem Burners new torches adorn each station. There are 20 Alphas, four Champions, and one Grand. Students are encouraged and taught how to work with both soft and borosilicate glass. There are three Skutt torchworking ovens in the studio as well (two Scarabs and one Mini). The torches are fed with liquid oxygen and natural gas.

Cold Shop

The cold shop has a 24” flat grinder with diamond discs (60, 120, 300, 400, 600 grits, and felt). There is a four-wheel lathe grinder with sintered 60 and 120 grit diamond wheels, and an orange and blue resin wheel. There is a separate lathe for the brown polishing disc. There is also a belt grinder with grits from 36 – cork, and felt. The studio has a water fed drill press, a wet saw, an oil saw, two flex grinders, a sand blaster, five wizard grinders, three UV lamps, various types of glue, many size goulashes, aprons, ear protection, etc. All stations have overhead lighting.