Written By: Josh Gray | Photography By: Kit Noble

Local artist Bob Dane is bringing glass blowing back to the Boys & Girls Club this August.

Glass blowing is not for the faint of heart. An average day begins laboring in front of a furnace burning at a scorching 2,200 degrees. “You need to keep the temperature the same the whole time,” says Robert Dane, who has been working with glass for nearly forty years. Blowing, shaping, reheating, and cooling, Dane has become a master at turning magma-like glass into objects of stunning beauty that have been on display in his gallery on Centre Street for over twenty years. Now this August, he and several other nationally renowned artists will be heating things up at a free glass exhibition to benefit the Nantucket Boys and Girls Club.

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 4.35.43 PMAs part of the Corning Museum of Glass Hot Glass Roadshow, “Hot Glass Nantucket 2016” will take place on the Boys and Girls Club field for three days in August. Working on a mobile stage equipped with a fully functioning furnace and tools, Dane and his fellow artists will walk audiences through the glass shaping process. “This is a 2,000-year-old tradition and art form,” Dane says. “At some point someone figured out how to melt glass and developed shaping techniques that we still use today.” Dane’s own roots in glass shaping stem back to the mid-1960s when there was a 20th century revival in glass sculpture.

While most art forms allow for an extended solitary creation process, glass shaping often requires working in teams to quickly achieve a fine, finished product while the material is still pliable. “You want to get the glass to the texture of honey,” Dane explains. “Some pieces take five minutes while more elaborate pieces can take all day.” Over the years, Dane and his wife and partner Jayne have come to represent thirty-five of the most prominent glass artists in the world, two of whom will be joining him on stage this August.

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 4.36.06 PMToots Zynsky is a well-known luminary who has worked alongside such legendary glassworkers as Dale Chihuly, while Raven Skyriver is regarded as one of the most exciting, emerging artists today. Together they will shape imaginative pieces of art, one of which will be designed by a child in the audience as part of the “You Design It, We Make It” portion of the program.

This will mark the second time the Hot Glass Road Show has made a stop on Nantucket. Dane first brought the show to the island in 2012 and raised around $70,000 for the Nantucket Boys and Girls Club. “We chose to partner with the Nantucket Boys and Girls Club because of the important role they play in support of the year-round Nantucket community,” says Dane. “They provide an immensely valuable service by helping to develop positive, well-rounded young people. They also provide a safe learning environment for children whose parents are working full time in order to raise their family on Nantucket. Thanks to our generous supporters, Hot Glass Nantucket 2016 is free to the public, and will be both an exciting and educational event for kids on the island, as well as providing much needed funds to support the activities of the Club.”

For more information on Hot Glass Nantucket, visit the event website here.

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