Meet Glass Blowing Department Co-Heads, Kate Drury and Sam Schumacher

By Cathy Niland | 6.22.2022

Earlier this year, we relaunched our Glass Blowing Department with a greater community focus in mind. The idea was to expand our offerings to include free or subsidized programming to school teachers, community educators, youth groups, and beyond. To spearhead this new programming, we enlisted the help of two incredible Glass artists and educators, Kate Drury and Sam Schumacher, as our new Glass Blowing Department Co-Heads.

Before we could welcome students back to the space, we needed to give the Hot Shop some TLC. Kate came to The Crucible in October of 2021 to get the furnaces back up and running, perform basic shop maintenance, and organize materials.

glass blowing department coheads

In her glass career before The Crucible, Kate was part of an organization called Firebird Community Arts, a Chicago-based nonprofit working to empower and connect people through glass blowing and ceramics. Kate explained, “We partnered with a lot of youth groups, including a trauma intervention group for students and young people suffering from PTSD. We created a glass blowing program that aided in that healing. My passion is definitely teaching teens and young adults about glass blowing.”

Kate’s skills in Hot Shop maintenance and experience working with youth made her a great fit for the role. But it was a big job and would require a co-captain to steer the Hot Shop ship. Sam Schumacher was the man for the job. 

Sam began teaching at The Crucible in 2015 and, since then, has taught dozens of classes and workshops. He is also an experienced Hot Shop technician with a great deal of knowledge around shop operations. Outside The Crucible, Sam is the owner of his own glass blowing company, Rocket Glass Works, based in Berkeley, CA.

Like Kate, Sam is passionate about providing access to glass blowing. “The Crucible space is such a valuable community resource,” he shared. “There’s limited access to glass and glass blowing and it’s a challenging medium, but I’m really excited to be providing access. I just want to get as many people in here as possible because I think it helps break down barriers.”

glass blowing department coheads

Not only have Kate and Sam relaunched our suite of classes and developed new programs, they also worked together to build our new mobile furnace, allowing us to bring glass blowing to youth and adults across the Bay Area. 

“Our goal is to make the Hot Shop more accessible to everybody,” shared Kate. “It’s a really amazing medium but it’s really expensive so that can be really limiting.” With ERV, our Education Response Vehicle, Sam, Kate, and our Glass Blowing faculty can do demonstrations and lessons on the road

We’re excited to share more on our Hot Shop and the community programs running the rest of this year. Explore upcoming Glass Blowing classes at The Crucible and join our community of makers!

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