The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

100° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Glass art takes flight

    Rebecca Marie Sasnett
    Rebecca Marie Sasnett/ The Daily Wildcat Margaret Zinger, flame-work glass artist, heats up a piece of glass into a glass butterfly using a bench burner and hand touch in her studio on the east side of town Thursday.

    One of humanity’s earliest fascinations was with fire, and the allure it holds for us has yet to burn out.

    “Glass Sculpting Insects: The Life Cycle of the Butterfly” will be hosted by renowned flame-worked glass artist Margaret Zinser on Saturday in the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium.

    As part of the Flame-Working Glass Art Demonstrations series, Flandrau and the Sonoran Glass School have come together to offer an demonstration on how to create flame-worked glass insects.

    Bronwen Heilman, along with Zinser, both UA alumnae, will present this unique look into an exotic form of art. For most college students, their exploration into art doesn’t extend beyond the classroom. Heilman and Zinser said they wanted to show why the oldest version of hot glass work is worth learning about.

    “In Egyptian tombs, glass beads were discovered dating back to 2500 B.C.,” said Heilman, who is the director of the Sonoran Glass School’s Flame Shop. “Flame-working glass is the act of melting glass at the torch, and this form of hot glass working yields very detailed works of art.”

    Heilman kicked off the series on March 22 with the “Art of Recycled Glass” presentation. She discussed the use of oxygen-propane torches and the process by which they can be used to manipulate and shape recycled glass into art.

    Zinser said for this presentation she will be sculpting different stages of a butterfly’s life cycle out of glass. Discussion topics will include the various color phases of glass used in the art and the techniques used to manipulate it.

    The Sonoran Glass School is a nonprofit school that specializes in working with students from a variety of Tucson high schools. It is currently in its 11th year of youth programming.

    “Through glass making, students learn the importance of communication, coordination and teamwork,” Heilman said. “It allows for students to gain aesthetic vision while also learning how to interact with peers confidently and comfortably, learn how to work in teams and develop good work skills.”

    Heilman received her degree in mechanical engineering degree from the UA and has worked for 15 years as a mechanical engineer while advancing her skills as a glass artist. Her position as director of the Flame Shop allows her to regularly teach classes demonstrating her mastery of the craft, a mastery that has earned her the distinction of being one of the leading national and international flame-worked glass artists.

    Zinser received her master of science in entomology. She was the president of the Sonoran Glass School board of directors for two years and still contributes. Zinser recently took first place in the 2013 Glass Craft and Bead Expo in Las Vegas. As an entomologist, insects are some of her favorite artistic subjects, allowing her to combine her two passions.

    The presentation Saturday will bring together the science of a butterfly’s life cycle and the beauty of flame-worked glass.
    “Glass is a really amazing medium to work with,” Zinser said

    More to Discover
    Activate Search