Fire — an element as destructive as it is constructive.
Jeffrey J. Schmitt, also known as “Smitty,” said he tries to remove some of fire’s negative stigma as he focuses on glassmaking, an art with a “very unique take on fire.”
Smitty owns Aurora Borealis Glassworks, the only glassmaking and glassblowing shop in Albuquerque. Smitty has been practicing glassmaking off and on since 1979.
Temperatures of over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit are required to keep the glass molten and allow it to be worked into shapes. Sonia Johnson, a student who takes lessons at the shop, said the art is a very difficult process.
“Glassmaking is more challenging than any other arts I’ve practiced,” Johnson said. “Many times it is not forgiving and at first when you start, you pay for your mistakes as your pieces in progress get destroyed. However, the challenges that arise in the art are what keep glassmaking interesting.”