UMW Student Showcases Glass Thesis and Italian Internship Experiences

UMW Glass Blowing major, Tony Lokason, gave an in-depth senior thesis in December titled "Through Odin's Eye," showcasing her recent artwork and adventures regarding her internship in Italy.

Lokason’s final product was a mix of what she learned in Italy and at Montana Western, as well as self-taught skills. The thesis combined experiences from Lokason’s life and the mythology of Odin.

“My thesis show was centered around myths where Odin is the ‘main character’ and his constant quest to gain knowledge. I used these myths to explore personal experiences and emotions,” Lokason explained.

Tony Lokason gives a presentation about her senior thesis and summer internship in Italy.

Lokason was born in Laguna Beach, Calif., although she has also lived in eight states in a countless number of cities and towns while growing up. She originally came to the University of Montana Western to study in a different degree program, but decided to take an introductory glass blowing class for her mandatory art credit, and quickly learned she wanted to pursue it further.

“The day that the glass program was announced, I went straight to advising and switched my major to a Bachelor of Arts in glass blowing,” Lokason said.

During the summer of 2019, Lokason was presented with the opportunity to travel to Italy for an internship to study photo-realistic, layered glass fusing from world-renowned glass artist Miriam Di Fiore. She spent two months learning the method, then came back to Montana Western with a vision to create her senior thesis.

Lokason spent the last month of her internship traveling Europe, exploring local and historical art in London, Rome, Florence, Milan and several other villages in Northern Italy. She was also able to explore the local countryside, gather photographs of landscapes and later incorporated her photography into her glasswork.

The image above features one of Lokason’s most significant pieces titled “Gungnir.” After Odin’s spear, this was one of the first symbols Lokason wanted to incorporate into her thesis.

“Thoughts and Memory-Loss” is Lokason’s most meaningful piece in the collection. It features two ravens after Odin’s ravens, Huginn, representing thoughts, and Muninn, representing memories.

Lokason expressed “My Huginn is full of negative self-thought — the wing of that raven is filled with how I felt and thought about myself on a near-daily basis. It taught me how much I talked negatively to myself, and how I need to start switching those thoughts to be positive. The ribbon in Thoughts’ beak was something I embroidered myself, and it says, ‘I’m glad I exist.’ A positive thought to combat the rest.”

“The World Tree” is made with 200 fused glass leaves cast from actual leaves that Lokason gathered.

“Being able to pull off a show that big in six weeks, that was really rewarding to me. It still is rewarding to me. I did it, and I’m still amazed that I did,” Lokason said.

“Would You Yet Know More?” is based on a myth where Odin removes his own eye and drops it into Mirmir’s well for a sip of the water.

Lokason will graduate in the spring of 2020, and hopes to return to Italy to start her career. She is currently in the process of interviewing for an open position at a scientific glass making studio near Milan.

The University of Montana Western’s Fine Arts Department offers a certificate, an Associate of Arts and a Bachelor of Arts in Glass. The certificate, Associate of Arts, and Bachelor of Arts degrees may be taken as individual academic pursuits, or combined into stackable degrees.

To find out more about Montana Western’s glass program, contact Associate Professor of Glass Ruth King at [email protected] or call 406-683-7344.

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