Instructor Highlight: Marilyn Johnson, Glass

Justin Harrison, Summer 2017 Communications Intern

Marilyn Johnson has been an instructor at the Phoenix Center for the Arts for 3 years. She began taking glass fusing classes at the Center in 2000. She is currently retired, but taught special education for 28 years. Marilyn enjoys spending her time working on personal projects in her home studio. When asked about some of her favorite memories of teaching at the Center, she explained that her happiest moments are when students meet their personal goals and exceed what she can create herself. Some of her recent personal projects have included different types of hanging pieces and wall art.

Q&A with Marilyn Field

What is your favorite part about teaching Glass?

After teaching regular public school, it’s really nice to not have tests and grades and to let people create things the way they want. I also like that most people have not been exposed to glass artwork, so they don’t have preconceived notions about how their work should be. It opens you up to experimenting and playing with the medium like you would as a kid, and brings out unique personality traits in each art piece.

What do you think makes Phoenix Center for the Arts such a great place to be?

For one, it’s very down to earth and accepting. I think they allow people to create more freely, doing things as they wish. I think it’s also a nice place to take a breath from responsibilities and be able to spend time with other people enjoying stress-free creativity.

What do you think Phoenix Center for the Arts will look like 10 years from now?

I’d love to see an expansion, the area is becoming a very hip place and I’d love to see a whole new facility. More space would definitely have more people coming to classes.

Any closing thoughts?

For me, there’s really a joy in sharing my knowledge and knowing that I’m not the master of all masters. We all share as a team and it’s a mutual kind of learning environment. I love not having to grade people, and instead focusing on the content of their work and watching people blossom. For any prospective students–once a month, I do a workshop for anyone who is seeking exposure to working with glass fusing. It’s a great opportunity to see if they’d like to sign up for a regular class.

Liz, a student of Marilyn’s, has taken 4 or 5 glass classes at the Phoenix Center for the Arts. When asked if she has had a favorite class at the Center, she explained that the introductory courses as some of her favorites, because she was just beginning to learn glass and starting to understand it. She also enjoyed a class exploring frit-lace, a technique in glass fusing that she was not initially sure how to apply to her work. In the future, she is looking forward to taking a class called “Thick Glass Block Construction, ” in which students use multiple layers of glass to create a sense of depth in their pieces.

Q&A with Liz, glass student

What do you think makes the Phoenix Center for the Arts such a great place to be?

The teacher, Marilyn, really makes me want to come to class. She’s such a positive force, and that makes it fun to class but also to learn more about glass.