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Master class at Toledo Museum of Art helps students create glass balloon animals

Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo Art Museum, Toledo Museum

Minneapolis glass artist Chris Ahalt will share how he uses flame to sculpt hollow glass into balloon animals during a one-week glass art master class at the Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) Aug. 12-16. Previous flameworking experience is required for this class.   

“Most of us grow up with a favorite animal, and the idea of turning ones favorite animal into a balloon seems a fitting marriage that is hard to dislike,” Ahalt said. “Students will learn how to manipulate a single bubble of glass into a favorite object. With a few choice tools, a blow hose, and some imagination, students will learn how far glass can be pushed as well as themselves.”

The finished product doesn’t represent the difficulty in creating the deceptively simple animal balloons, he said.

“Students will be challenged and failure is inevitable but that’s how we learn,” Ahalt said. “It’s so rewarding seeing the growth by the end, I promise.”

Ahalt graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2000 with a bachelor of fine arts in sculpture/furniture design. He currently lives in Minneapolis where he is a self-employed flame worker specializing in custom glassware, vases, sculpture, lighting, prototyping, and commissioned work.  

His class is one of three held the week of Aug. 12, which is the final week of 2019 glass master classes. Also, teaching that week is Jen Blazina and Grant Garmezy.

The glass master classes run one week, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with lunch provided. Each week-long class costs $950 for Museum members and $1,000 for nonmembers.

For more information or to register for a master class in glass, visit or call (419) 254-5080.