Sundance features the art of glassblowing

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While it may not sound common, glassblowing is a centuries-old art form still practiced today and the Sundance Resort has begun their 2012 season, offering the experience to view glass products in the making.

The Artshack Glassblower Studio creates an opportunity for anyone to see how a molten ball of glass can transform into a decorative piece of art or a useful dish.

“The workmanship is very beautiful and the prices are very reasonable,” said Rebecca Richards who runs the art studios at Sundance.

Made from 100 percent recycled glass, the pieces featured at Sundance’s Glassblower Studio are available for purchase.

The glass products come in many different shapes, sizes and colors. The finished product may be either clear, amber, green, blue or turquoise. Sundance’s specialized glassblowers mold the hot melted glass into products such as vases, pitchers, bowls, glasses, plates, tiles and even ornaments, according to Richards.

The resident glassblowers at Sundance include Gustavo Calderon Valdivia and Octavio Flores. Both men come from Mexico and have dedicated their lives to glassblowing.

Valdivia, the master glassblower, began to learn the art form at the age of ten. His interest sparked when he first went to a glassblowing studio and became intrigued by how glass was given form and became art, according to his biography. He studied with four teachers, and now he is passing on his knowledge to his apprentice, Flores.

“I started from the lowest branch of the tree,” said Flores in his biography. “Every day I could, I went to see how the glass blowers worked. I loved it so much, and because of that love, I have 18 years working in glass.”

A Sundance representative in Mexico invited both Valdivia and Flores to come work at Sundance in 2002. Both artists willingly accepted the opportunity. Since then, they spend nine months of the year in Utah and spend the rest of the year home in Mexico. Valdivia and Flores recently have returned from Mexico to start another season of glassblowing at the resort.

Glassblowing requires the combination of natural elements to be heated enough to transform into a molten state. After a blowpipe is dipped into the molten glass, the artist puts the glass on a marver, or thick sheet of steel, to shape the glass. The artist then blows air into the blowpipe to shape the glass.

As a student at BYU, Katherine Redd is taking a beginning glassblowing class and is starting to understand there is more to the art than she thought.

“There is something about molten glass that is beautiful,” she said. “There is something magical about (it).”

The Sundance Resort’s Art Shack Studios feature the Glassblower Studio, which is free and open to the public, as well as multiple art workshops. These workshops include jewelry making, wheel-thrown pottery, photography, printmaking, painting and drawing. Appointments must be made to take a class.

The Art Shack Studios and Sundance Gallery are open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. everyday. For more information, visit www.sundanceresort.com/create/art.

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