“The tech apprentice program at the Pittsburgh Glass Center offers a unique opportunity to work, learn, and create in a state of the art public glass facility. I take pride in being one of the backbones of the facility as my day to day involves maintaining the cleanliness and the equipment, as well as facilitating classes, workshops, and rentals. It definitely isn’t the cleanest job, and sometimes isn’t the most fun, but it is very rewarding. In my time at the studio we built a large glory hole, rebuilt both a furnace and a kiln, and met some very awesome people. In addition to the tech side of things, you get access to using the shop to make and develop your own work. For me, this was a balancing act because I would work all day, and then work on my own work at night. If you don’t have a strong work ethic, as well as self-motivation then this job is not for you. You get out of it what you put into it, and if you put yourself out there, I guarantee you will be very happy with the results.”
- Samuel Spees, 2018 Tech Apprentice
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Daniel began blowing glass in 2013 at Tulsa Glassblowing School (TGS) in Oklahoma shortly after leaving the military; starting in a paperweight class and quickly becoming enthralled by the glassblowing process. Shortly after becoming competent enough to teach basic flower and paperweight classes, and thus starting his career in glass. During his employment at TGS, he helped to start and instruct the military veterans program, (VETri), with the goal of building a community of veteran glassblowers of a wide variety. Allowing people to express themselves artistically within a challenging medium, but also to build a better sense of camaraderie within Tulsa veteran’s community.
It was during his time at TGS that Daniel began to take intensive classes around the country to pursue and improve his craft, but also to familiarize himself with the glass community overall. It was during one of these intensives that he visited Pittsburgh Glass Center and fell in love with the facilities and staff. Moving to Pittsburgh not long after in 2019 to become an instructor.
He enjoys the teaching process within the public access studio because of the one to one connection that can be made through the glass medium. Knowing that any student could potentially take up glassblowing as a hobby or career in the same way he has adds to the value he has while instructing.
He continues to gain experience as one of PGC’s part time instructors, a regular member of the Penn+Fairmount production team, working for other artists in the studio, and developing his own craft and product line continually in the hot shop.
Jarryd Pezzillo, started blowing glass at The Rochester Institute of Technology. After graduating, he began working at Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center in Millville, New Jersey. At Wheaton, Jarryd spent his off time building a small portable glassblowing studio on a trailer. After leaving Wheaton, Jarryd returned to his hometown of Hopewell, NJ with his portable studio to start a small business of production glassblowing. Jarryd has also spent some working at Monarch Glass Studio in Kansas City, Missouri, and learning at Haystack craft school in Maine.
Rachael Strittmatter grew up in the outskirts of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania where she obtained her Associate of Arts degree from Harrisburg Area Community College in 2016. Her work has been featured in numerous international exhibitions and she has had international residencies in Japan and the Czech Republic. She has held teaching assistant positions at Corning Museum of Glass as well as Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. Rachael recently completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Rochester Institute of Technology in May 2020 and is excited to be a part of the community at the Pittsburgh Glass Center. When she isn’t in the glass studio, Rachael can be found outside, painting her nails, or talking to strangers.