Alumni News Glass-Blowing Alumni Remember From Where They’ve Come

November 9, 2022

A Hawks in Flight Feature

Just before graduation, Chris Rochelle ’99 received a piece of paper from his faculty mentor, Resident Artist Erik Halvorson.

On that paper was a name and a phone number that would change his life.

“I didn’t really know what my next path would be,” said Rochelle. “But the number was for someone he knew at North River Glass. I called, went out to interview, and got the job.”

Now Hot Glass Projects Team Leader at Corning Museum of Glass, Rochelle returned to Hartwick recently to lead a two-day glassblowing workshop for Halvorson’s students.

Assisting him was another Hartwick art alumnus, Luke Richards ’22.

As a student, Rochelle interned at The Corning Museum of Glass during his junior year and did his work-study with Halvorson and Terry Slade, professor emeritus.

“Glassblowing is a team-oriented profession,” said Rochelle. “I had been so used to working solo that being able to work with two mentors brought me to that next level, even before I graduated.”

“Glass-blowing requires a lot of passion and self-discipline,” said Halvorson. “Chris had that, and that’s why he’s been so successful.”

Following Halverson’s recommendation, he worked at North River Glass for six years. After a stint at the Steuben Glass Factory in Corning, he joined the museum in their “Hot Glass at Sea” program with Celebrity Cruise lines. “We’d do a demonstration where we’d make a piece from a kid’s drawing in front of everyone,” he said. “And the kid would get to take the piece home. It was always fun and challenging.”

During the workshop, Rochelle demonstrated a Reticello technique, making a bowl with a complex, cross-hatching pattern.

“One of the advantages of Hartwick is that any student can take a glass blowing class,” said Halvorson. “We’ve had students who’ve never done it before go on to do very well in glass.”

This was Rochelle’s third workshop at Hartwick since he graduated. In July, he also spent a week at the Fenimore Art Museum in tandem with their “Unmasking Venice” exhibit, demonstrating traditional Venetian glass.

“I want to deliver education and inspiration about glassmaking wherever I can,” he said.