"Time burns up. It goes up the chimney, man," says Ethan Bond-Watts. Time — he's talking about long stretches of it — up to nine hours straight immersed in his art. And the chimney? It's the stack over the furnace where molten glass glows orange as the UVM junior practices his craft in a Burlington studio co-op.
When Bond-Watts first encountered glass blowing as a 15-year-old Champlain Valley Union (CVU) High School student in Hinesburg, Vt., the pull was intense. "Finding glass that was so hot, so dangerous, so immediate — it's the same reason young people are attracted to snowboarding, that instant gratification," he says.
Back then, Bond-Watts recalls, the talk as graduation approached wasn't "What are you doing next year?" but "Where are you going to college?" Bond-Watts wasn't. He had a far clearer sense of his next step than most his age. After working at Church and Maple Glass Studio through high school, he was ready to apprentice with noted Burlington glass artist Alan Goldfarb.
While he built his skills in a four-year apprenticeship, pursued experiences with the world's top glass artists in Venice, Seattle and Corning, N.Y., and gained the business sense necessary to an artist's survival, Bond-Watts grew more committed to his path. "It became apparent at some point that I could spend my whole life in front of the furnace," he says, "and I realized that an education was really important to me."
Bond-Watts enthuses about how UVM's Environmental Program has deepened his perspective as an individual and an artist. You can see his one of his commissioned glass sculptures hanging in the Davis Student Center sometime during the fall 2008 semester.