Author's Bio

I am a senior English/Journalism major from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. You can follow me on twitter @banania197.

Written by Brittany Anania / November 26, 2013

Beyond the Furnace

Ride the Orange line southwest from the center of Boston and find yourself at Roxbury Crossing. A building at 123 Terrace St. offers a warm spot for those curious enough to get their hands hot and to immerse themselves in the fragile art of glass.

On this particular Friday afternoon, Sean Clarke, owner of Diablo Glass School, bounced around the studio, from working on projects to working with students. A native of Ireland, Clarke came to Boston with a background education in engineering. Building on that knowledge, Clarke opened Diablo in 2011 as a public access school, created the equipment, and fell in love with glass. From hot shop to flat shop to flame shop, there isn’t a single cold spot in the studio.

Offering classes for a wide demographic of curious students, Clarke admits Diablo is trying to take a far more educational direction, aimed at aspiring, passionate artists.

“That can go in many different ways,” said Clarke. “So, we’re trying, at this moment in time, to move away from the casual, entertainment, wild type of person, to the more serious artist who really is trying to learn the medium and learn themselves and find themselves in the glass world.”

Just a few blocks away, the Museum of Fine Arts works with Diablo as educational partners. With the MFA increasing their glass collection over the past few years, the glass school offers workshops as part of the Studio Art Class program. Diablo has also partnered with deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Boston University, and the Massachusetts College of Arts and Design.

When thinking of advice for those interested in glass art, Clarke answered with a smile.

“Take a left, run 3 miles, take a right, run 4 miles, get on an airplane, and go in the opposite direction,” said Clarke with a laugh. “Ah no, it’ll be great… It’s a journey.”


Diablo logo on stained glass, hanging in the flat shop. PHOTO/Brittany Anania

Sean Clarke, right, works with student in front of furnace to gather glass at 200° F onto working pole. “Keep turning!” said Clarke. PHOTO/Brittany Anania


Student works on shaping paper weight as Clarke protects his arm from the heat. PHOTO/Brittany Anania

Student, Angie, pulled her glass ornaments off the shelf. PHOTO/Brittany Anania


Sheila Checkoway, instructor at Diablo, creating a beach-themed bead in the flame shop. “It’s as if I’m creating a landscape from molten glass,” said Checkoway. PHOTO/Brittany Anania

A glass artist drying her beads after washing. PHOTO/Brittany Anania


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