In a balmy lab on the campus of UW-Madison, a number of students are finishing up their art projects for the semester. One opens up a sliding door to a furnace heated to over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the other uses a long pole to gather up some of the molten liquid inside. When exposed to the air, the viscous fluid quickly forms into a malleable solid shape.

“Glass has this really alien behavior,” muses Helen Lee, a master glassblower who teaches in the UW Glass Department. “How do you interact with something that’s changing its behavior as you work with it? It’s just really captivating to me.”

Lee’s glass artwork has been exhibited around the world. Growing up bilingual, much of her work explores language.


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