New design ideas along with an interest in the history of Tiffin Glass has arrived at Crystal Traditions in the form of a new glass blower.
Jack Gramann of Columbus, a recent graduate of Columbus College of Art and Design, began working two months ago. Now he is busy creating the 1,700 Christmas ornaments Crystal Traditions needs every year. In his spare time, he has enjoyed making his own signature pieces and experimenting with old tools and molds used years ago to create Tiffin Glass.
He began glass blowing only two years ago while attending classes in ceramics. The glass blowing was housed nearby.
"It was right across from the ceramics lab," Gramann said. "I thought, when am I going to get to take glass blowing. At the same time, I was taking other studio classes in sculpture, print making and painting, I wanted to try everything. Glass blowing really grabs you; it's really addicting once you start."
One thing he discovered about glass blowing is that it is not a skill he can just practice and improve.
"My standards have lowered since I started doing it," he said. "It's not a skill set that you get to practice at, like drawing."
Gramann did not get interested in art as a possible career until his senior year of high school. Always interested in drawing, he took drawing and ceramics classes, realized he could do it as a career, and applied to CCAD.
"I had been drawing all of my life," Gramann said. "But I never thought I could do something with it as a career. Working with ceramics senior year, I realized that I can go to school for art, that I can do this thing for a living."
He was led to the position at Crystal Traditions by the former glass artist Erinn Bessler, who recommended him to owner Carol Yager. During the last three summers, Gramann worked blowing glass for his professor's production work.
"It was a good introduction to what it would be like being a real glass blower," he said. "It showed me that I could do it."
Due to his friendship with Bessler, Yager had a chance to see the shop.
"I loved seeing the shop," he recalled. "They have the old tools that were used to form Tiffin Glass. There is so much to look at and use. I'm really excited."
His specialty, Gramann said, is that he likes to hot sculpt.
"I like doing figurative work, sculpting at the bench using the torch and spot heat," Gramann explained. "You sculpt from the inside and outside of the bubble."
Gramann said he is excited to be in Tiffin, to demonstrate glass blowing, to conduct classes, to develop his own work and to work with older molds again. Classes will be offered beginning in mid-October, although the exact schedule has not been determined.
Sundays, he returns to Columbus and sells his own work at crafts festivals and shows, especially during the first and third Sundays at The North Market.