The Glass Lady


By Rebecca Leviton

Deep in the basement of Syracuse University’s Life Sciences Complex, in a workshop cluttered with broken beakers, glass rods, and heavy machinery, Sally Prasch works on her latest repair job—a glass apparatus that looks like it came straight out of Star Trek. With one end of a long, plastic tube held in her mouth, and a torch that’s spewing a steady stream of flames at 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, she heats the glass in the fire and blows air into it through the plastic tube. After repairing a break or sealing a crack, she removes the tube, gets up, and places the glass into a large oven at the other end of the room. Then, it’s on to the next project.

Sally has been down in that basement for years, working as SU’s glass lady. Her job is to manufacture, modify, and repair all kinds of glass products—something she’s been training to do since she was 13 years old.

Sally received her formal training at University of Kansas and Salem Community College in southern New Jersey. Since then, she has lived and worked all over the country, including Kansas, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. She was also invited to teach the art of glass to students in Italy, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Japan, Mexico, and Canada. Once, a Canadian artist even commissioned a glass replica of a life-sized brain. “Customs opened it up going across the border, and they called me, and wanted to know what it was for,” Sally said with a laugh.

When she is not working on her glass projects at SU, Sally keeps busy with teaching gigs and her personal glass business, Prasch Glass, which she officially started in 1991. But blowing glass is not a hobby to her. It’s a job. “It’s something you can make a living at, and it’s a good living,” she said. “It takes you all over the world.”

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