New Glass Gallery Emphasizes Community Engagement in New Orleans

11:49 July 20, 2018

Pollack Glass Studio and Gallery will be hosting its soft opening from 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 28, during Moonlight on Magazine Street. 

Andrew Jackson Pollack, a local artist who’s been doing glasswork in the city for over 20 years, said, “As far as torchworking [different than working with a furnace], all the artists kind of work at home in their own studios, so we don’t all know each other.” He hopes to use his new gallery space to bring people together throughout the community, including neighbors, people new to glass working, and other glass artists.

Unlike furnace glassblowing, which tends to come to mind when people picture glasswork, Andrew does a form of glassblowing known as “lampworking” (also known as torchworking), which involves working with a torch to slowly shape glass into items such as beads, figurines, and marbles. 

Currently, Pollack Glass offers classes, including intro to torchworking or recycling glass bottles into cups and beads, twice a week on Wednesday and Saturday mornings and also plans to implement a community night. “We’re going to open our studio once a month to the community where basically it’s open torch night, so people can come in and try it without cost being prohibitive,” said Andrew. 

When it comes to the qualities of a glass artist, "I think there’s some sort of thrill seeker, someone who likes puzzles. And a stick-with-it-ness. Even when things break, you have to try again, knowing it might break, often it will break. Determination—I see that in a lot of them [glass artists],” explained Andrew. 

Andrew’s evolution as an artist has been paired with teaching since he moved to New Orleans at 18 to attend Loyola and began teaching bead working at the New Orleans School of Glasswork. From there, his teaching career grew to include teaching in schools and doing classes at YAYA, an after-school art enrichment program for local high school students. “Teaching makes you rethink all the little steps from the beginning,” he revealed, “so I learn a lot.” 

As far as the appeal of working with glass specifically, “it’s addictive. If you’ve ever tried it, it’s a lot of fun and really mesmerizing. I was probably a bit of a pyromaniac as a kid. When I was first able to get glass hot, melt it, try and control it, I thought it was really cool, and I still do,” said Andrew. 

“There’s so much influence and inspiration in the city. Some of my work is very whimsical. I try to create this tension and balance it. And I find that a lot in some of my favorite music, especially local music,” mused Andrew on the impact of New Orleans on his art. 

Pollack Glass Studio and Gallery is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located at 4132 Magazine Street.

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