West Town glass studio teaches teens artistry and entrepreneurship

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Ignite Glass Studios in West Town teaches teens artistry and entrepreneurship with an after school program in glassblowing. (WLS)

Glass blowing is becoming more than a refined art. It's also becoming a link to entrepreneurship.

If glassblowing looks like it requires a measure of skill, you are right. But these teens are enjoying mastering a craft.

"The reason why I did this," says Tyshon Lowe, 16, "I wanted to learn something new and the reason why I came back is because it was fun."

The students are learning the delicate art of glass blowing at the Ignite Glass Studios in West Town.

"They said I can do anything I want," says Keturah Hughes, 14. "They said you can make your own vase, cupcake, plate or bowl. I was like oh I want to try that. I tried it and I got very used to it."

The classes are part of an After School Matters program that teaches students not only the creative element, but also the how to turn their passion into profit. Companies regularly commission the students to create artwork and they get paid for it.

"We are working on a project right now with a company called Sauce and Bread Kitchen," says Pearl Dick, one of Ignite's instructors, "and they're going to be in the 'One of a Kind Show' at the Merchandise Mart in December. They do specialty hot sauces and we're partnering with them to create specialty bottles and bottle tops. "

A portion of the proceeds will go back into Ignite's youth development programs. They say along with artistic acumen, the program helps foster maturity and personal growth.

"As they start to learn it, it boosts their confidence and at the end of this program they're proficient," says Dick. "They're confident, capable of creating artwork and you can really just see how that affects them."

Ignite Glass Studios also offers classes to the public. For more information on Ignite Glass, visit www.igniteglass.com .

For more information on the One of a Kind Show at Merchandise mart, visit www.oneofakindshowchicago.com.
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