The Crucible

The Crucible
1260 7th Street
Oakland, CA 94607

The Crucible is a non-profit educational facility that fosters a collaboration of Arts, Industry and Community. Through training in the fine and industrial arts, The Crucible promotes creative expression, reuse of materials and innovative design while serving as an accessible arts venue for the general public.

Two  blocks from the West Oakland BART station on 7th Street, the Crucible’s Glass programs are growing and changing.  New glass furnaces are hot and two long awaited classes: Glass Ladling into Sand Molds and Hot Glass Casting into Metal Forms started in September. Glass Flameworking and Bead making, Glass Fusing and Slumping, Cold working, Glass Kiln Casting, Plasma, Stained glass, Recycled glass, Plasma and Light and Neon classes are also offered. As one of the Co-Heads of the Crucible Glass Department, I would like to tell you more about the Crucible

The Crucible first opened its doors on January 15th, 1999, in a rented 6000 square foot warehouse in West Berkeley. Sculptor Michael Sturtz, led a small group of dedicated cohorts who shared his vision.  They envisioned a new kind of industrial arts educational experience that offered anyone and everyone the opportunity to be creative. The Crucible began its first session with 11 classes, and continued, with the help of generous donors and students.

[at right: Cold shop: Lee Granberg, Glass Fusing Lab monitor and Lab member Danielle Young.  Photo: Mary White]

In 2002, the Crucible bought the present cardboard box factory in West Oakland (48,000 sq ft), and expanded again.  In 2006, we installed 240 solar panels to generate about 35% of the electricity we use with a 34-kilowatt photovoltaic solar electric system. In January 2007 we produced the first Fire Ballet, Romeo & Juliet.  We celebrated our 12th year with over 85 faculty and industrial arts experts teaching nearly 175 classes and workshops to around 5,000 students a year.  A dynamic youth program serves over 900 youths in classes and camps.  The Crucible is the home of many community events

We offer classes and workshops in a range of mediums from bronze casting, metal fabrication, blacksmithing, ceramics, MIG, TIG and Oxyacetylene welding, kinetics and electronics, machine shop, mold making, soft sculpture, wood working, stone working, jewelry, glass and fire performance.

For recent art graduates, we have many volunteer/intern opportunities. 

Glass and others areas have Lab and Create programs for more skilled artisans and trades people who want access to our studio and tools. [at right: Kier Lugo and Mary White in Hot Shop. Photo: Becca Joy]

Our Crucible faculty includes:

  • Janet Hiebert: Fusing and slumping
  • Lee Grandberg: Fusing Lab
  • Kier Lugo: Hot Shop Area
  • Torchworking: Tara Murray and  Ralph McCaskey,
  • Neon & Light: Christian Schiess, Norman Moore and Ed Kirshner,
  • Youth Program: Mimi Dean.
  • Michelle Knox, recent MFA Glass, just joined the team to teach Kiln Casting and Cold Working and Engraving.

The Glass faculty is developing a Visiting Artist Series with simultaneous weekend workshops in each glass facility.

The Crucible community comes together at our yearly fundraisers, which in the past have featured either a Fire Opera or Fire Ballet. Throughout the year we offer three Open Houses (in April, September, and December), as well as four evening Fireside Lounges.

[Mary White]