Youth Programs Community

Simha Furaha Has A Backup Plan While The Crucible Hot Shop Is Closed

By Cathy Niland | 7.22.2020

Two years after taking his first Crucible class, Simha Furaha stepped into the Hot Shop and fell in love with Glass Blowing. From 2018-19, he was a Fuego Youth Leader in that department, helping summer camp instructors teach youth students while also working on his craft with a mentor. This past fall, he became our Glass Blowing Intern, and is now on staff as a Studio Assistant. At just 17-years-old, Simha has cemented himself in the Glass Blowing department and Crucible community.

Simha’s glass blowing journey has been put on pause while our Hot Shop is temporarily closed during Covid-19. But that hasn’t stopped him from staying creative. He’s been using this time to build other artistic skills, take classes at The Crucible, and work on plans for future glass blowing and glass etching projects.

We sat down with Simha to talk about all things glass, why he decided to join our staff this summer, and what it is about The Crucible that keeps him coming back.

Simha Furaha

I Am The Crucible: Simha Furaha

What is it about The Crucible that’s important to you?

One thing I really appreciate is being in a space full of creative people. A lot of people who work here want to be part of the community. When I’m here doing artistic work, it’s great being around others who are creative in different mediums. Each medium offers a different insight in solving different problems. I can go to Blacksmithing or Ceramics and ask for help.

How do you see working here impacting your future?

In terms of my career, I don’t want to work in an office, I want to do something in the industrial field. Right now glass blowing is not a super Covid-friendly activity, but working here I can take other classes in welding, ceramics. . . In the future, if I’m living somewhere without access to a Hot Shop, I could do a welding job or I could teach ceramics classes.

How has creativity evolved for you during shelter-in-place?

I am planning a sketchbook to work in every day with plans like, “If I was in the Hot Shop I would have done this.” For glass blowing, you have to have the steps in your head before you do it and communicate with your partner. So I’m working through those steps now and talking them through with Kelsey. I’ll have a book of to-dos when I can blow glass again.

It sounds like drawing out the steps is part creativity, part meditation.

Totally! I close my eyes, imagine myself at the bench, picking up tools. Flexing that muscle memory helps me get away for a minute.

Simha Furaha crucible

Two of Simha’s pieces made during his second year as a Fuego Youth Leader

Simha Furaha crucible

A collection of designs in Simha’s notebook for future engraving projects.

What projects are you working on or working towards?

My tentative plan is to go to art school, so I’m using this time to build my “art school” skills. I’ve been working with Kelsey and she’ll say, “Today we’re working on contour drawing. Today we’re working on shading.” Each day is a mini-lesson so I’m building up those skills.

I also want to make a series of octopi in different sizes, different colors. And one of the things I hope to do this year is a set of stacked rocks, blowing each one and connecting them. Hot sculpting is something I haven’t done before!

What was most impactful in your teaching experience?

Teaching kids who know nothing about glass blowing further solidifies what I know about glass blowing. I have to explain in a way they’ll understand and it means you have to know how to do things in more than one way. If you’re too close to the problem, you don’t want to mess it up. So being able to help someone else helps me. When I face that problem later, I already know how to fix it!

Simha Furaha crucible

Simha (right) with his mentor, Kelsey Kenny (center) during 2019 Youth Summer Camps.

simha furaha crucible

Kelsey and Simha pose for a photo during the 2019 Fuego Youth Leadership reception.

What do you enjoy most about working here?

Taking classes! But really, there isn’t really anywhere like this with so many art forms happening in one place. So much is at your disposal. But it’s also the people who are here. It’s like going to a family reunion, it feels like you’re home again.

So what is the one word you would use to describe The Crucible?


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