Art in Your Parks: Finding Inspiration from Nature

Last week, we sat down with Anthony Gima, a local flame worker based out of Highland Park. Throughout his 14 years living in Pittsburgh, he’s come to know and love his local parks and often draws from nature to create his spectacular works of art.

Question: What is Flameworking?

Answer: Flameworking is a form of glassblowing where we use torches instead of a big furnace. I’ve been doing that for about six years, and I got started over at the Pittsburgh Glass Center. I started out volunteering and trading hours for rental time, and then I began teaching there. So now I have my own private studio in Highland Park.

Question: How did you get started with glassblowing?

Answer: Back at Little Italy Days, they had a shop that was doing live demonstrations, and I was amazed by it! I had never seen something like that before. At that point in my life, I needed an outlet, and that stood out to me, so I started taking classes at the Glass Center and got hooked!

Question: Why do you love Pittsburgh’s Parks?

Answer: Parks are everything to me. I think that during the pandemic in the early months, there was a lot of chaos. In that time, I found more time to be outside, especially with my dog. I had just moved to Highland Park at that point, so I loved walking around the neighborhoods and then coming to the reservoir and enjoying the many trails.

I had been in Frick Park before biking, but that year, I was able to get really into it and go almost every day. It was just so good for me and my mental wellbeing and also my physical health. Soaking in the fresh air and the peace, being away from cars and the hustle and bustle of the city was so nice!

Question: Do you draw inspiration from nature into your artwork?

Answer: Absolutely. I think just having time to think and free my mind from other things enables me to think creatively. I definitely get influenced by flowers and imagery shapes as well. Just having the capacity to clear my mind and think about things differently helps a lot!

Question: What’s next for you?

Answer: I’ve been here for almost 14 years now, but I am actually moving to Boston in a few weeks. I’ve become so attached to this city and I’ll miss it!

I’m excited to move, even though I still have a lot to pack. My shop mate is going to take over the private studio in Highland Park so I will always have a place to come back to, which is awesome. In the future once I get settles in, hopefully I’ll be able to continue to teach out there!

Question: Is there anything else you want to add?

Answer: Just be kind to each other. Be sure to take of each other and also these beautiful green spaces Pittsburgh has to offer.

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