Kent County Public Schools
March 23, 2017
On March 11 and March 18, 2017 Kent County Public Schools’ art teacher, Aimee Boumiea and three elementary students visited David and Patti Hegland in their glassmaking studio in downtown Chestertown. The students were chosen through an essay contest, and the winners were those with the best response to why they wanted to learn about making glass.The students had an opportunity to learn about the science behind art glass while they created artistic pieces of their own. One of the concepts they studied was “Equilibrium thickness” which is the thickness to which glass will naturally settle after being melted, about 1/4 inch. The students got to observe how large pieces will expand or flatten out to that thickness, and thinner pieces of glass retract to that size when they are cooled. They also learned about reactive colors. Glass is colored with different elements and when those elements come in contact with each other in the melting process, it produces a halo of a new reactive color.
The program is part of the Arts in Motion program through Kent County Public Schools and was sponsored through a grant from the John Ben Snow Memorial Trust. The idea for the program came from Tom McHugh, KCPS Facilitator for Fine Arts, and was championed by Fine Arts Supervisor Gina Jachimowicz as a great way for students to see art and science in action. McHugh reached out to Patti and David Hegland who were eager to participate. The Heglands are nationally recognized fine artisans, having won the Niche award for glass in 2013 as well as being finalists for the award in 2014 and 2015. They began a second career as glass artists in Chestertown after leaving successful careers in engineering and finance.
When asked about their participation, David Hegland stated that they are supporters of public education and had a great time with the students. He stated, “It’s amazing how quickly the kids learned and were able to put together their own pieces of glass art. They gained an understanding of the physics of glass and had fun composing their own works of art.” Each student left the program with one or two pieces of glass art that they created as well as a better understanding of how scientific concepts are applied in the real world.
Photo Caption: Patti and David Hegland of Hegland Glass work with students from area elementary schools to create glass art