Playing with Fire

Bryan Randa elevates the art of glassblowing

Glassblowing is a storied tradition in the town of Sandwich, one so treasured that the Sandwich Glass Museum has made it their mission to carry the torch of this spellbinding art. The Sandwich Glass Museum claims to have “relit the fires” of glassblowing in town. Furthermore, it’s fair to say the museum has also, serendipitously, lit quite the fire in Pocasset resident Bryan Randa.

Growing up on a farm in the middle of Iowa, Randa was oblivious to the world of glassblowing. “I grew up outside, running around fields and playing on the rivers and streams – that’s all I did,” he says. “When I was little I loved all animals, and I loved the ocean, but all I would ever see of it was in books and on TV.” As a child Randa also loved to draw, and “As soon as I could,” he says, “I started doing pottery,” which he practiced throughout high school. After high school he studied graphic design, as well as drawing and sculpture, at his local college, and in 2004, at age 19, he moved to Onset, intent on pursuing further study in graphic design at MassArt. One day, as Randa drove around exploring the Cape, his plans suddenly changed. He had come across the Sandwich Glass Museum.

“I was like, ‘Wow! What’s that?’” he recalls. “So I went in, and there was a demo area, and some guy had just finished up doing a demo.” Randa struck up a conversation with the man, learning that he had been giving a demonstration on glassblowing. “That was the first time I ever knew you could actually blow glass,” Randa reveals. “He told me about a couple studios on the Cape, and then he was like, “McDermott, you’d probably get along with McDermott, so call him.’ So I called him. He was working on rebuilding his furnace, so it took, like, a month, almost, of me just calling him – ‘Hey, are you ready yet?’”