Tell us about yourself.
My name is Allyssa Burch, I grew up in central Wisconsin where I pursued my undergraduate studies in psychology and dance. While interning at a youth detention center, I witnessed the positive impact that making art had on the residents and knew I needed to pursue it. I stumbled into glass as an elective and was completely dumbfounded on the first day of class when my teachers asked me to put a “metal stick” into some “lava.” I quickly learned to love it and am currently pursuing my Master of Fine Art’s in glass at Ball State University.
What draws you to the material you work with and why have you chosen the processes that you use in your work?
I am drawn to the meditative repetition of movements and the building of muscle memory while working in the hot shop, it reminds me of my favorite aspects of dance. It’s both a mental and physical process and there is an underlying rhythm to it. I find contentment in the meticulous process of mold making and I am grateful for the unending potential of glass as a medium.
What themes do you pursue in your work?
Glass as a material has a physical memory and scars throughout the creation process. This recording of history is essential to my work which explores perseverance, and the deterioration of memory through the recreation and manipulation of significant objects. I utilize glass for its ability to appear ephemeral, fragile, and cold, yet simultaneously archival, protective, valued, and sentimental.
If you weren’t working in this field, what career would you choose?
If I wasn’t working in the arts, I’d be working with underprivileged youth, which is something I hope to pursue through glass after completing my MFA. I’m inspired by youth programs like that of Little Black Pearl in Chicago, or Hilltop Artists in Tacoma. Or, maybe I’d be a volcanologist—study volcanoes, not Vulcans—live long and prosper.
Why are you a member of GAS?
I’m a member of the Glass Art Society because glass people are devoted, imaginative, and impassioned. There is no greater art community that that created by GAS. It’s a great place to keep up with of the interesting people, events, and innovations surrounding the material. It’s always inspiring to see what’s going on.
See more of Allyssa's work here.