A glassblowing artist in the making

Kim Diaz in the glassblowing studio. Photo: Barry V. Williams

By Barry V. Williams

Kim Diaz in the glassblowing studio. Photo: Barry V. Williams

A glassblowing artist in the making

By Barry V. Williams
Senior Kimberly Diaz never imagined she would develop a passion for glassblowing at UM.

New Jersey native Kimberly Diaz transferred from Rowan College at Gloucester County to the University of Miami as a sophomore to pursue a degree in graphic design. But after taking an introductory course on glassblowing with UM lecturer Jenna Efrein, her passion for creating objects with glass bubbled to the surface.

As she stands in the outdoor studio alongside a glassblowing furnace and two re-heating chambers, all radiating heat at over 2,000 degrees, the UM senior said the temperature doesn’t bother her anymore. “Glassblowing is a lot of work and very time consuming, but making beautiful pieces of glass art is so gratifying,” said Diaz. “And you totally get used to the heat.”

Now her artistic passion is placing Diaz on the path to many diverse opportunities where she will be able to continue to hone her skills in this creative field. As her final semester at the UM quickly approaches, Diaz is considering an apprenticeship with a glassblowing studio in Hollywood, Florida where she will get to work on a cruise ship traveling the world creating pieces for the ship’s clients.

“I see it as a great opportunity to learn a lot and apply what I have learned here at UM,” said Diaz. “I think it would be fun, and I’m looking forward to getting to meet new people. I enjoy the whole idea of travel and being surrounded by other creatives.”  
 

She was first exposed to glassblowing in high school during a field trip. Once enrolled at UM, Diaz felt compelled to take the glassblowing classes offered in the Art Department because of her natural curiosity to try new activities. 

“I see many students pass through the glassblowing classes I teach,” said Efrein. “Few actually grasp what it takes to be an artist and what it means to be an acute observer of life. This translates to so many applications and professions in the real world. I have seen this quality in Kim. Along with her positive attitude and hard work ethic, she shows great promise. It is my pleasure to offer her any opportunity that passes my desk.”

Even though she is preoccupied with glassblowing at the moment, Diaz also hopes to use her graphic design skills at some point in her career, particularly in the music industry. Outside of what she is required to create in class, Diaz loves making functional ware pieces, such as glasses, plates, bowls, and vases. She gets much gratification out of creating glass pieces that have everyday use. It is also a very dynamic process that could take hours to complete. 

In addition to all of the excitement generated over her travel plans, she definitely feels like there are many different opportunities for a person that has the skill and ability to work with glass. She also gave a nod and a smile at the possibility of owning her own glassblowing empire someday, stating: “Anything is possible.”