TCA Biennial: Glass

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By Mary Erickson, Ph.D.
with Arizona art teacher LynnAlison McGavack-Martin

Glass is a three-part lesson plan designed in conjunction with the Gallery at Tempe Center for the Arts.

Exhibition Preview – TCA Biennial: Glass PowerPoint
Questor Questions about Glass Art by Deanne Sabeck (pdf)
Glass Artists Process Photographs PowerPoint


  • Theme in Life: People throughout time and around the world have made and used glass.
  • Theme in Art: Contemporary glass artists celebrate the glories and nuances (subtleties) of light and color.

Key Questions
Lessons approach the themes through two key questions.

LookHow is unity created through repetition?

InterpretHow do artists’ choices of materials affect the expressive feelings of their art?


Community Connections
In the Valley of the Sun, people use glass windows to both enjoy and protect themselves from many bright, sunny days. When windows have two layers of glass, we can see outside, but some of the heat of the hot summer sun is kept out. Sometimes we use awnings, patio roofs, sunscreens or dark film to protect ourselves from the strong rays of the sun while being able to see out glass windows to enjoy the desert around us. We even use glass as protection in our cars.

Lesson One
One: Glorious Glass

Preview Glorious Glass PowerPoint
OPTIONAL: Samples of everyday objects and/or collectibles made of glass, for example: light bulbs, drinking glasses, vases, mirrors, bottles, dishes, figurines, marbles, windows, lamps, ornaments, neon signs, etc


Lesson Two
Two: Exploring Glass at the Tempe Center for the Arts

Exploring Glass at the Tempe Center for the Arts Worksheet pdf
Questor Questions about Glass Art by Deanne Sabeck pdf


Lesson Three
Three: Making Fused Glass Jewelry and More

Alcohol and cotton swabs for cleaning
Dichroic glass in different spares (line, noodles, stringers), colors, textures and degrees of transparency
Glass Frit
Kiln, kiln shelf and kiln wash
Copper wire and cord for pendants
Pin findings for pins
OPTIONAL: Slump molds
ALTERNATIVE: “Friendly Plastic” can be cut and fused in hot water


Bead Museum
Tempe History Museum
Michael Carter, TCA Intern
Artist Laurie Nessel
Artists BJ Katz and Christopher Klein
Artist Sally Dryer
LynnAlison McGavack-Martin, Art Teacher at Joseph Zito Elementary School in Isaac School District, Phoenix
Debbie Enbering, art teacher at Eastern Sky Middle School in Litchfield School District, Litchfield
Kate Cross, art teachers at Atkinson Middle School in Cartwright School District, Phoenix

Estimated Time
Pre-visit Lesson One = 20 to 40 minutes
TCA Visit Lesson = Field Trip
Post visit Lesson = 40 minutes for each group of six students

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