Collyer, Charles

Advisor Department





Glassblowing; Lampworking; Learning Curve; Flow; Art; Psychology

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.


Fire and inspiration melted glass art’s enchanting ways into the center of my passions. Lampworking is a small-scale method of glass blowing, which is the term to refer to an art form where one shapes molten glass into a variety of items. To create glass art, propane and oxygen supply a flame torch which melts the glass. Gravity and rhythmic hands work symbiotically to shape glass rods and tubes. The result is unique three-dimensional visual art.

After years of aspiring to work with borosilicate glass, the opportunity to incorporate the endeavor with academia presented itself. Through months of time and dedication, I was able to connect glass art with psychology by monitoring and recording the learning curve of a novice lampworker. Simply defined, a learning curve is a graphical representation of the increase of Learning or Proficiency (Vertical axis) with Experience (Horizontal axis.)

Beginning with my first time using a torch, I kept a journal of my daily experiences, advancements, and accomplishments over the course of 14 weeks. This journal allowed me to observe the increase of knowledge and skills gained over time. Photographic and physical items were collected to provide a visual display of lampworking progress. To conclude my observation period, I constructed a final piece of psychology-inspired artwork that incorporated my highest levels of skills at the time.

This project inspired me to question and observe some of the psychological processes related to art creation. It allowed me to discover and immerse myself in a mental state of flow, which involves full-capacity engagement in a goal-driven task. Tranquility, focus, challenge-skill balance, and control are some factors that accompany the flow of glasswork. The project also provided me with the basic skills I need to become an advanced glassworker. Through my involvement, I have acquired a true grasp on the value of working with one’s hands.