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Denebola » Article » Glassblowing a source of healing as well as art
Arts and Entertainment

Glassblowing a source of healing as well as art

By Leigh Alon
Published: February 2010

Ever since she viewed a glassblowing demonstration at the age of six, junior Camille Brugnara has made glasswork an integral part of her life. She attended a glassblowing summer class at Diablo Glass Studio and can often be found in the glass room working on new pieces.

But for Brugnara, glass is more than just a hobby with which she can impress her friends: glass has remained a constant inspiration and challenge for Camille and a reminder that every person is capable of doing great things, despite any personal issues she has faced.

“What really appeals to me is the fact that I can make beautiful pieces, and it’s my own form of therapy. It allows me to see that I am really good at something, and I feel like all my problems go away the second I enter the studio, she said.

For Brugnara, there is nothing quite like the feeling of working with something that is as hot as 2,000 degrees and only inches from her hand.

Brugnara appreciates glassblowing not only for the art itself, but also for allowing her to meet one of the most important guiding figures in her life,  glass teacher Jeffrey Wixon.

Wixon has allowed Brugnara to grow and thrive in the often hostile environment high school can become.

“Mr. Wixon has played a father figure in my life since freshman year, Brugnara said. “Wixon helped me through my personal issues so that I was able to truly put forth my best efforts into my glass work. Wixon made the glass room a place where I feel so comfortable, and it’s my safe place in school, that’s where I am all the time.

“Without him I wouldn’t have been able to survive through my first two years of high school. He continues to help me through everything.

Brugnara’s specialty glass pieces are her magnificent fish, of which two can be found in the school, one in the Goldrick House office, and one in Science teacher Joanna Vrouvlianis’s room.

“I love trying new things with [the glass fish] and each one comes out really different. They’re always different because it depends on the temperature of the glass, the colors, and especially the mood that I am in, Brugnara said.

After finding comfort in the therapeutic qualities of glass, Brugnara now tries to help other kids who are going through hard times by sharing her work with them. She works with Adolescent Wellness, a program that helps depressed teenagers deal with their problems.

“I show my glass work at their programs to show how important art work can be. Many people have been interested in buying my work, but I really just like to give them away as gifts, she said.

Brugnara hopes to continue helping others with her glasswork and has a unique vision of where her work will go in the future. She hopes to open a center with different mediums through which others can express themselves, such as glass, ceramics, and painting.

“I want to be able to give kids, especially kids that don’t have a lot, a chance to be able to see the great things that they can do, because when people have a rough life it’s sometimes hard to find a reason to really push yourself to be the best you can be. My hope is to help people see their full potential by allowing them to pursue art and/or any type of wellness, she said.

Through her visually appealing and varied work, it is clear Camille Brugnara possesses unique skills. Her passion runs deeper than just an appreciation for the arts: she also has a determination to help others discover themselves, as she herself has been fortunate enough to do.

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