Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Glass art exhibit heats up gallery

August 6, 2001
Art Allison, of Pottsboro, Texas, forms a goblet during a glassblowing demonstration Sunday outside of Mackerel Sky, 217 Ann St. Allison has been practicing the art for 22 years. —

On a hot Sunday afternoon, people were doing their best to stay out of the 90-degree heat. But some stopped to watch a man play with 2,000-degree molten glass anyway.

Art Allison, from Pottsboro, Texas, was demonstrating the art of glassblowing to spectators outside of Mackerel Sky, 217 Ann St.

“I’ve been doing this for 22 years now and this is what I like to do,” Allison said.

Allison was in East Lansing for a demonstration that was part of the First Sunday Gallery Walk, which is a coalition of East Lansing and Lansing galleries that hold exhibitions for the public on the first Sunday of every other month.

Allison started working with glass while a student at Kent State University in 1979, and since then has made a living out of it.

“All it is is just blowing a bubble and then decorating it,” he said. “That’s all it is.”

Allison started the process by taking a long metal pipe and sticking it into a furnace, where the liquid glass was burning. He then shaped the glass by rolling it on an aluminum surface and then blowing into a pipe to form a bubble in the glass. From there he used his specialized tools to create the sculpture.

The Hanna family, from Williamston, came out to see Allison at work.

“We heard about it from our neighbor and we thought it would be enjoyable for the kids,” Kathleen Hanna said.

The Hannas’ neighbor is Tom Dufelmeier, owner of Mackerel Sky.

The kids got to interact with Allison as he made goblets, vases and other glass sculptures. With Allison’s assistance, the kids got to touch the glass with a specialized tool and cut the burning glass.

“It was great. It was really cool to see him make those sculptures,” said Joe Hanna, 10. “The glass felt squishy.”

The First Sunday Gallery Walk also had an exhibit of a series of art by East Lansing artist Kathryn Darnell.

Darnell was showing off her new series, titled, “Well Disposed: Visual Dispositions & Constructed Still Life.” The exhibit included a series of drawings and paintings that were based on her daughter.

“The basic ideas were inspired by my daughter, who was making things out of household products,” Darnell said. “I used a different approach and added new ideas to tell a story.”

Darnell has been showing exhibits at Mackerel Sky for 10 years and this is her sixth exhibit there. Her display will run through Sept. 24.

Dufelmeier said his store has art from 250 to 300 artists and has been running the First Sunday Gallery Walk for 10 years. He also said a number of artists come on a regular basis to show off their work.

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