Glass blowing becomes a form of therapy for veterans

Focus, perseverance, teamwork -- and even sweat. A group of men and women who meet every Sunday morning in downtown St. Pete have endured them all during their time in the U.S. military.

Their latest "task" as a civilian in Morean Arts Center’s glass blowing workshop has a lot of similarities. 

In time for Veteran’s Day, the studio is hosting an exhibit through Operation: Art of Valor.

“It’s like a brotherhood,” Sgt. Daniel Williams, a U.S. Army veteran, said to describe the program. “We’ve got each other’s back.”

Williams was referred to the program as a form of therapy by a counselor at a VA Hospital.

Matthew Piepenbrok with Morean Arts Center says it helps veterans work through a variety of issues. 

“The thing about hot glass is, it’s kind of a work-around for a lot of the triggers you see in TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), working with a lot of heat, a lot of yelling and a lot of screaming,” Piepenbrok said. 

The veterans work through different six levels of instruction making anything from paperweights to intricate sculptures.

“It’s very therapeutic to take your energy and focus it into one specific thing,” Williams said. 

To learn more about Morean Arts Center’s Operation: Art of Valor you can visit their website