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FACES: Glass is Grafton artist John Bartunek’s medium of choice

Post Time:Jan 09,2012Classify:Industry NewsView:429

GRAFTON, N.D. — John Bartunek has taken a shine to working with glass.


Bartunek, a retired Grafton teacher and counselor, started doing stain glass work about 15 years ago as a hobby. A few years later, he was at an art glass convention in Chicago and took a class in lampworking.


“I’ve been doing that ever since.” Lampworking is a type of glass work in which the artist uses a gas-fueled torch to melt the rods of colored glass, and then when glass is molten, shapes it into various pieces and fires them in a kiln. Bartunek also does fused glass work, which involves stacking glass in layers and then firing it in a kiln.


Bartunek sells the lamp work including earrings, bracelets and pendants, and the fused glass, which includes jewelry and bowls, at Valley Music Center in Grafton, at the Town Square Farmers Market in Grand Forks and at arts and crafts shows. He calls his business, John’s Very Cool Glass Art because “very cool” is what people often say the first time they see his glass work, Bartunek said.




While visual art is fairly new for Bartunek, he has been a musician for much of his life. He has played bass in a bluegrass band called Sneaky Wild Oats for the past 30 years and owns Valley Music Center which sells church organs.


Bartunek developed an interest in stained glass work after taking classes at River Rat Stained Glass in Manvel, N.D. He still enjoys making stained glass and is crafting a six-panel piece for the living room window in the home he shares with his wife, Peggy. He sells stained glass along with his fused and lamp work art.


Bartunek does the lampworking at night during the spring, summer and fall in his garage after work at Valley Music Center. The garage isn’t heated, so he takes a few months off after finishing up the Pride of Dakota shows in November and early December, he said.


Doing the lamp work is relaxing for Bartunek and he enjoys shaping the glass and discovering what colors it will ultimately be, he said.


“You don’t always know what you have until the next day when you take it out of the kiln.”

Source: www.grandforksherald.comAuthor: shangyi

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