By Sarah Daniels-Campbell, Squam River Studios Creative Director
The educational movement known as STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) made a visit to Museum of Glass (MOG) over the course of the last two weeks in the form of a class from kiln glass artist Shandra McLane. McLane and her team traveled from her studio, Squam River Studios, in New Hampshire to offer their self-designed curriculum, Engineering the Glass Seed, to a group of 23 high school students from Tacoma’s Science and Math Institute (SAMI) and Tacoma School of the Arts (SOTA).
The curriculum provided a chance for students to explore various artistic, scientific, and mathematical concepts based on the inspiration of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a storehouse for the world’s seeds in the event of a man-made or climate disaster. The teens were asked, “If you could design a seed, what would be its purpose and what would it look like?”
During the class, which ran for three days, the students built clay models of their seeds, created a plaster mold from their models, and cast the molds in glass to be fired in the kiln. The class covered a wide range of topics, including: design principles, ratios, color-tinting, and basic mold-building.
This curriculum is a pilot program, funded by the Swedish American Exchange Fund Grant, and the Museum’s class was the third and final portion of the program. Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and The Glass Factory in Sweden also participated.