By Melody Reed, executive director of Glass Axis
Tylan McCollum is an independent working artist, a Glass Axis instructor in hot and fused glass, and manager of the Glass Blowing Theatre at Cedar Point. She is a graduate of Columbus College of Art & Design with a BFA focusing in glass and a business minor. Her work will be on display in the upcoming Glass Axis gallery show, Mini Vitro, and during the annual Glass Axis Holiday Sale. We sat down with Tylan to talk about how she got her start in glass and where she expects this medium to take her in the future.
Melody: Very few artists grow up knowing that they are going to specialize in glass. Where and how did your interest in glass start?
Tylan: I got my start in ceramics a decade ago at Clyde High School. That led me to the glass program at Columbus College of Art and Design. While at CCAD, I began doing glass blowing demonstrations at the Franklin Park Conservatory. I really quickly realized that glass was my true calling. Now, I get to work throughout several cities in Ohio including Columbus, Fostoria, Tiffin, Fremont and Sandusky.
Melody: You’ve managed to find ways to do what you love in a variety of locations. Where can you be found working in the glass medium?
Tylan: Currently, I manage the glass shop at Cedar Point, run by the Glass Academy of Dearborn, Michigan. Through that position, I offer guests glass classes like Christmas ornaments, icicles, flowers, paperweights and pumpkins. I also had an opportunity to meet my local community at a pop-up shop at the Fremont and Tiffin Farmer’s Market. Of course, I also work as an instructor in Columbus at Glass Axis.
Melody: Any ideas about the future? Where would you like to go next?
Tylan: I am actively working to open my own shop so that when the Cedar Point season is over, I can continue blowing glass ornaments through the winter. One of my greatest business role models, Glass Axis, has allowed me to meet amazing artists. One retiring artist has offered all their tools, pipes, molds and burners. I want to build a glass class business in a location where as many people can access it as possible. The Fostoria Learning Center has already invited me to teach some classes there if I ever build a mobile hot shop.
That’s my grand, long-term plan: being able to share my art at weddings and events across Ohio.
Another goal I’ve got is to get more hands-on experience making pumpkins, vases and beer mugs. It may take some time; glass isn’t a cheap medium to work with. But with the support from the glass community in Columbus, the people in my hometown of Clyde and glass enthusiasts from all across the area, I think my dream is well on its way to becoming a reality.
Melody: What draws you to teaching this art form to others?
Tylan: Being able to teach many of the School’s Out Open House classes at Glass Axis this summer just warmed my soul as things started to slowly reopen. Seeing kids’ faces glow with amazement over the hot glass is one of my favorite things. They always have tons of questions. My favorite was, “So now does it dry and turn to plastic?”
I really enjoy offering the chance for people to immerse themselves in a medium that really breaks down barriers. I would even say we could build a stronger community with teamwork and creativity all coming together in one shared space.
Tylan’s work will be on display in the upcoming Glass Axis gallery show, Mini Vitro, and during the annual Glass Axis Holiday Sale. She will be teaching a variety of classes at Glass Axis throughout November and December. A listing of all available classes is available online at glassaxis.org.