by Natasha von Kaenel

Our 2018 Fuego Youth Leaders had a great summer, shadowing instructors, working as teaching assistants, visiting CASS Inc., and making final projects in their disciplines! In our Fuego Youth Leadership Program, each Fuego student is paired with an experienced faculty instructor for two summers, with the goal of developing career skills, establishing rewarding relationships with mentors, and becoming leaders. Fuego positions are paid and participants work as summer camp teaching assistants, mentor younger students, and provide industrial arts demonstrations onsite and at Oakland festivals and cultural events.

Our 2018 Fuego Youth Leaders said that mentorship through the Fuego Youth Leadership Program helped them feel more comfortable in new mediums, developed their expertise, and gave them practice sharing their newfound knowledge with their peers. See their final projects below!

In order to participate in the Fuego Youth Leadership Program, students must have completed at least three Crucible classes and be recommended by Crucible faculty or staff. The Fuego Youth Leadership Program is sponsored by CASS, Inc – the official metal recycling partner of The Crucible. We are grateful for their ongoing support.

First Year Fuego Leadelrs

fuego youth leaders

Alex Donellan
Fuego Leader in Blacksmithing

Final project: Theodore, forged snake 

“It’s fun to be able to express myself on a 3D plane with pretty much unlimited resources and a massive amount of help. Taking on such a difficult medium has been very entertaining and challenging, and it’s worked out to my liking so far.”

fuego youth leaders

Ben Lockwood-Johnston
Fuego Leader in Blacksmithing

Final project: Piff the Metal Dragon

“Initially I started forging stuff because I have always been interested in using fire to do interesting things. The Crucible helped me hone my skills and apply them to my forge at home to make more complicated things.”

fuego youth leaders

Bri Medina
Fuego Leader in Glass Fusing and Slumping

Final project: The Heart

“My art is a way of finding a happy place, but also to see the reality of the world and what people go through. I want my art to show things that words can’t explain . . . The Heart that I created with Glass Fusing and Slumping was a way to show my younger self what I wanted to do: to be a cardiac surgeon.

fuego youth leaders

Fuego Leader in Glass Flameworking

Final project: Flameworked Octopus 

“Many things inspire me to make art but the most prominent is the zone I get into when I am making art. The zone is where nothing else truly matters besides creating the vision I see in my mind. I really enjoyed the process of creating new art and I’m so proud of it.

fuego youth leaders

Ian MacDonald
Fuego Leader in ARC Welding

Final project: Metal Man

“I find fire captivating. It’s what drew me to start creating sculptures. I found it more rewarding than the art I was used to and I found it voices my emotions. I am mostly inspired by the genre of science fiction. I really enjoy seeing and feeling all the wonder of what is yet to happen, or what could never happen.

fuego youth leaders

Johnathan Lee
Fuego Leader in TIG Welding

Final project: Sheet metal origami crane  

“This art piece is a reminder for me that elegance from paper and origami can be translated and shown in metal as well. It is a unique demonstration of how metal can look as delicate and graceful as paper.”

fuego youth leaders

Jordan Hopkins
Fuego Leader in ARC Welding

Final project: The Butterfly

“The Crucible and ARC Welding are important to me because I like to use my hands to build stuff. I want this butterfly to send a positive message. I want people to think that they can be free and explore new things like a butterfly.”

fuego youth leaders

Rowan Barbeau
Fuego Leader in Jewelry & Metals

Final project: Copper necklace with cabochon stone and cast clasps 

“Originally I didn’t think I’d enjoy jewelry, but once I took the class I fell in love with the craft and wanted to come back every year since then. This piece is the culmination of the skills I’ve learned. It incorporates soldering, gem setting, wire working, and casting.

fuego youth leaders

Rowen Sanford-Eckhaus
Fuego Leader in Foundry 

Final project: Angel 

“At school I am rather limited in the media I can use, but at The Crucible I can expand my skills and my work. The facilities here give me an opportunity to make art I would not be able to otherwise, and that opportunity is incredibly valuable to me.”

fuego youth leaders

Simha Furaha
Fuego Leader in Glass Blowing

Final project: A Mass of Color, glass blown cups 

“My end goal was to make a tumbler with an over-lay base and a feathered and reduced wrap. I made thirteen practice cups in total, and spent an additional twenty hours in the Hot Shop working on them. Working with a variety of glassblowers helped me understand Glass Blowing in a more comprehensive way.”

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