Firsts, Flames & Philanthropy
By Jennifer Delgadillo
It was in the middle of the Broad Ripple Art Fair crowds that Kiran Bohyer first peeked into the glass studio and saw an instructor performing a dance that is now familiar to him: reaching inside the furnace crucible filled with melted glass, gathering a layer of glass on the end of a steel blow pipe, and rolling the molten glass on a marver to give it a cylindrical shape. All while turning the blow pipe and keeping it in constant motion.
That was when Bohyer was eight years old. By the time he was ten, he was old enough to enroll in an introductory glassblowing class and he fell in love with it. “That’s kind of how I got started in glassblowing and what led me to my first class making paperweights,” says Bohyer. “After that, I enrolled in a week-long summer camp, a couple more group sessions and then went on to private lessons.”
Bohyer is now a senior at Park Tudor and continues his glass education through private lessons with instructor Yuri Okamoto. But in the time passed since his very first class, he has developed more than just his skills.
In 2013 the Philippines experienced one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded. On making landfall, typhoon Haiyan devastated portions of Southeast Asia killing at least 6,300 people in the Philippines alone. Watching the news about this event made an impact on Bohyer who was in 8th grade. Soon he was working with his school to organize a fundraiser for the victims of the typhoon. He made 250 glass flowers for this fundraiser in middle school.
“Being able to share my glass work with other people was really an incredible opportunity for me and, furthermore, being able to share that and contribute to a good cause made it even better!” says Bohyer.
After realizing his success and seeing how much people enjoyed his work, Bohyer continued organizing fundraisers to benefit victims of various natural disasters. For Mother’s Day he made over 200 glass flowers, which sold within an hour or two. At these fundraisers, Bohyer displayed videos of his glassblowing to raise awareness about this art form to others in the community.
Bohyer had the opportunity to learn Venetian glassblowing techniques from a master glassblowing instructor at Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY (the same glass company that makes the popular Corning dishes).
With the help of family and mentors, Bohyer has now turned his hobby into a business. Through his Etsy shop Vivid Flames he can continue to raise funds for different charitable causes. “The Art Center was really a springboard for me to do that and have that experience — which was really incredible.”