The episode marks the start of this Peabody Award–winning series’ eighth season on PBS, and highlights five teachers across the country who are committed to their own artistic visions as well as to passing on their skills and passion for craft to new generations of students and artists of all ages.
Craft in America: Teachers takes an inclusive approach to education and craft, emphasizing that it is never too early—or too late—to acquire skills and appreciation for craft. These artists/teachers profiled in the show are a special breed. By day they are found in classrooms and workshops ensuring that their hard-earned wisdom and practical skills are passed on. Across the country these craft artists are dedicated to education—inspiring, evaluating, critiquing and praising their students’ achievements.
One of the artists is O‘ahu’s own Mark Mitsuda, who is a teacher at Punahou School, where he introduces professional glass forming techniques to his students. In 1972, well-known Hawai‘i glass artist Hugh Jenkins started Punahou’s glass program, where Mitsuda was a student. Mentored by Jenkins, Mitsuda, after earning a BFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University and co-founding a glass studio in Saratoga Springs, took charge of the school’s program when Jenkins retired in 1998. Underscoring the inter-generational mission of teaching, Mitsuda says that what he learned from Jenkins, he now passes on to his own students.
“I feel fortunate to be teaching something that I feel passionate about and being able to inspire other people in the place that inspired me to first go into glassblowing,” says Mitsuda. His luminous work, which remagines utilitarian objects like jugs as beautiful glass art.