Glass artist Robert Grenier gives Vera her new Unique sculpture.

From Paper to Glass: Creature Inspires Glass Artist

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Thursday January 23, 2014

"It was a great experience to meet the artist that brought my drawing to life, making a gorgeous glass sculpture identical to a drawing that came simply out of my imagination,” said Veronika (Vera) Escaja-Heiss, the Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School sixth grade student whose drawing was selected for inclusion in the second VT Kids Design Glass project. Her drawing of an imaginary creature named Unique inspired the sculpture by glass artist Robert DuGrenier, and both artworks are currently on display at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center (BMAC) through March 8.  

FHTMS art teacher Beth Coleman had previously traveled to Seattle, Washington for the National Art Education Association (NAEA) art teacher conference, and while there visited the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, which included an exhibit of glass creations featuring kids drawings of imaginary creatures brought to life by professional glass artists. Coleman was very excited to see the same wonderful opportunity to promote student work in collaboration with professional glass artists here in Vermont.

According to BMAC Education Curator Susan Calabria, the exhibit VT Kids Design Glass II was repeated because of its popularity. Two years ago, just 12 drawings were selected but this year it was expanded to 24 drawings and sculptures. Children submit drawings of creatures they’ve conceived; the artists select a drawing and build a three-dimensional glass creature from the kids’ two-dimensional drawing. The students also write a little story about their creatures, which encourages literacy and supports the connection of art with reading, writing and critical thinking skills.

Coleman’s sixth grade art class students drew and wrote about their imaginary creatures and submitted their drawings last year. Then the glass artists were called in to select the ones they wanted to work on. Vera’s drawing of Unique was one of only 24 from 812 Vermont students’ submissions chosen by one of the glass artists to be turned into a sculpture. 

The artist selected to create Vera’s drawing into glass is Robert DuGrenier. Her drawing is included in the exhibit along with the sculpture he created based on her drawing.  Vera has also received a copy of the glass sculpture from Robert DuGrenier as a gift. 

All the students who submitted work have their drawings on display at BMAC, too.  The exhibit continues through March 8 at the BMAC.