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Mind Blown Studio turns up the heat

Black Hills Backstory: Toni Gerlach
Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 9:49 AM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) -2000 degrees Fahrenheit is used in making steel, felt when studying volcanos, and in a former pump station in Deadwood, where a gaffer uses it to melt glass.

Gerlach says “I was always enamored with the material. You’re working with something that’s molten and so fluid turning it into something that is solid and fragile. Another aspect I like about it is you have to start and finish a piece. You can’t just start working on something, set it off to the side, and come back to it later. It’s not like a painting where you can make a couple of brush strokes, leave it for the day, and come back to it. It’s a continuous process”

Gerlach started blowing glass at an early age after her mom signed her up for a class. Receiving a BA from San Marco University she dove deeper into her studies.

Gerlach says "I’ve gone around the world now taking classes from other artists in different facilities. They’re usually 1-3 week-long intensive works. Basically, you can pick on what you want to focus on learning. Mostly what I take is sculpting classes learning how to sculpt material.

And for those who may be an inspiring glassblower, Gerlach has this advice.

Gerlach says “Don’t stop. Glass breaks! Keep going and going and going. If this is truly your dream follow it whether it’s glass blowing or anything else. Anything’s possible.”

Her “anything’s possible” attitude extends to her art.

Gerlach’s real-life imagery is a result of her extended studies expressing whimsy and reality in her work. Mind Blown Studios, created 7 years ago, in the Black Hills has a vibe that Gerlach appreciates and says motivates her during times of pandemic.

Gerlach says “The collaboration, teamwork, camaraderie and the fun we have whether in the studio or coffee shop we have a great group of people who work here. That’s most of the joy is coming and hanging out with them... it’s not really a job. It’s joyful.”

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