New York

Women at the Fire: An Art Introduction to Glass, Clay and Steel

Torch, hammer, throw and ignite in this women-only art week. Learn artistic techniques that use heat and fire, including ceramics, glassblowing, blacksmithing and encaustic painting.
Rating (4.9)
Program No. 22772RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Torch, hammer, spark, throw and ignite will hold new meaning after you join fellow creative women for an introduction to art-making that uses heat and fire as an integral part of the creative process. Learn to throw ceramics and literally fire your pieces with Raku. Form one-of-a-kind pieces from shimmering molten glass. Explore the ancient art of encaustic, melting beeswax, damar resin and pigment to paint your canvas, then employing fire to burn in and fuse each layer. As if that weren’t enough, you will be taught the art of blacksmithing, and even how to strike a flame from scratch.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Walking and/or standing for up to one hour at a time.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Learn glassmaking, ceramics, blacksmithing and encaustic painting from expert instructors.
  • Explore the famous Corning Museum of Glass and learn about the history of glass from 4,000 years ago to the present day and beyond.
  • Step back in time to the 1700s as you learn the art of blacksmithing, start a fire from scratch and cook your lunch in a hearth.

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event, and a value-priced single room.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Jennifer Fais
Jennifer is a representational watercolor/acrylic/encaustics painter with a planning degree and a minor in art from the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay in 1973. Her favorite subjects include birds (especially the Great Blue Heron), nature, landscapes and local landmarks. Painting watercolor house portraits began in 1994 when she was commissioned by the Wheat Agency to paint homes for their realtors to give as gifts to their clients. She continues to enjoy painting homesteads, lake cottages, childhood homes—all the places people love.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Martha Manikas-Foster
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Amanda Warren
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Jennifer Fais
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Christa Westbrook
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Stephen Brucker
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Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The American West: People, Places, and Ideas
by Suzan Campbell
Permanent collection catalog for the Rockwell Museum of Western Art in Corning, NY. This collection of American paintings, bronzes, firearms and Native American artifacts was assembled by the late Robert F. Rockwell, local businessman, and established as a museum in 1976. It is an unusually fine collection of mid-to-late 19th and 20th century art works documenting the westward expansion movement, the popular illustrations created about it, and includes contemporary artists, many who are Native American.
The Maverick and His Machine
by Kevin Maney
The latest biography of Thomas J. Watson, founder of IBM, and founder of Watson Homestead Conference & Retreat Center, on farm of his birth in 1879. Includes information about Watson and the Making of IBM. Author Kevin Maney of USA Today was the first biographer of Watson given access to the original boxes of personal and corporate ephemera that were sealed at his death in 1956.
The Corning Museum of Glass; A Guide to the Collections
by Richard W. Price, editor
Full color guidebook of the 3500-year history of glassmaking using color plates of significant objects with full descriptions, plus chapter overviews of the various technological advancements through the ages. An exceptional pre-visit view of the museum and its collections or souvenir memory collection. Much of the book's information and its images can also be found on the Museum's website at www.cmog.org.
The Finger Lakes Book
by Katharine Delavan Dyson
Travel guide to the top sites in the 14-county western New York State region, the Finger Lakes. Good for adding pre- and/or post-program activities. Good photos and maps included.
Frederick Carder and Steuben Glass: American Classics
by Thomas Dimitroff
This essential reference work provides a detailed study of Frederick Carder, his contributions to the Steuben Glass Works, and the captivating works of art he produced in glass. To dazzle and delight the reader, there are over 760 photographs and 450 line drawings, the vast majority of which provide illustration for 800 pieces of Steuben glass from the famous Rockwell collections. Reference material and photographs never before in print are provided. The text evaluates Carder and the Steuben Glass Works that he co-founded in 1903 in a critical light. It reviews Carder's lengthy and productive career, analyzes his changing role within the company, and places Carder's artistic contributions within the matrix of the international decorative arts industries of his time. A section valuable to all collectors is one in which many aspects of identification and evaluation are covered--signatures, relative rarity, and dating.
Corning and the Craft of Innovation
by Margaret B.W. Graham and Alec T. Shuldiner
For those interested in the history of research and development at Corning Incorporated, this large volume combines both history of the company renamed after moving to its new location in the city of Corning in 1868, through the end of the 20th century. The processes, scientists, engineers, patents, and corporate expansion are covered with some photos, many notes and a detailed index.

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