Jonathan Capps ’05 has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Finland to pursue multicultural studio glass and scholarly research from August 2018 to May 2019.
The Fulbright Program is the pinnacle of international exchange and education, and it is designed to increase the mutual understanding between the people of the United States and those of other countries.
“The Fulbright application process is extremely competitive, and by far the most in depth I’ve experienced to date,” Capps said. “My project has been almost five years in the making, and I’ve been rejected on two separate occasions prior to this year’s acceptance. As professionals, our curriculum vitae’s show off our achievements, but what they fail to convey is how much work it takes to get those ‘lines’ on our resumes.
“Becoming a Fulbright finalist is indicative of that,” he continued. “I am both humbled and honored by the opportunity and beside myself with excitement.”
Capps received a BA in art from Centre College in 2005 and is currently a lecturer at Ohio State University in their art department.
In 2009, he received an International Artist Residency at Lasikomppania and Glass School, which is a vocational college and feeder program for the Iittala Glassworks Factory in Nuutajärvi, Finland. The following year, he returned to assist in teaching a nontraditional glass sculpting class for students and factory workers.
“Prior to this, I knew very little about the rich cultural history and traditions of glass in Finland,” he said. “These first-hand experiences embedded in Finnish glass have had a lasting impression on me, and in 2013, when all but one glass factory in Finland closed its doors and shut down production, I felt a sense of urgency in my Fulbright pursuit.”
Capps’ Fulbright award includes three primary components: collaborative design, glassmaking and production, and community engagement that explores the cultural effects of Finland’s changing glass landscape.
“I will spend nine months in Nuutajärvi, Finland, at the Nuutajärvi Glass Village Cultural Foundation (NGVCF) learning the stories of local and regional glass artists and historians to complete hands-on research and gain personal insight into the evolution of Finnish glass art and design,” he explained.
“My synthesis of this research will be the creation of a 24-piece handmade limited-edition glass series titled ‘The Integrated Cross-Cultural Series,’ which will explore Finland’s changing glass narrative and the NGVCF’s impact on contemporary Finnish glassmaking through preservation and collaboration.”
Capps will have the opportunity to assist the NGVCF in programming and outreach to support the continuity and renewal of glass in Finland and teach workshops in the Italian/American style of glassblowing. He will also plan a community session to discuss changes in the lives of artists affected by Finland’s shifting glass landscape.
In addition, Capps will assist two local artists in their studio practice in exchange for a connection to the surrounding glass community, and he will donate original and collaborative works to the Nuutajärvi Glass Museum.
While in Finland, Capps hopes to achieve meaningful multicultural communication and exchange of ideas through studio glass art. He is also excited about living abroad with his family and giving them an extended international experience.
“As a glass artist and educator, I hope to use this Fulbright to learn traditional Finnish techniques, collaborate with local artists and then share my Fulbright experience as a way of contributing to the future success of hot glass as a fine art medium,” he said. “I hope that this Fulbright is merely the beginning of a lifelong conversation and exchange between myself and the Finnish glass art community.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
June 14, 2018