Morgan Gilbreath’s The Ground Beneath My Feet

Senior Morgan Gilbreath came to Tyler because she wanted to take on a double major, a school that was not just an art school, and to be in an urban environment. She is currently pursuing a BFA with a concentration in Glass, a BA in Art History, and a certificate in Community Arts from Tyler.

In the past year, Gilbreath has been awarded the Tyler School of Art Partner Scholarship, had an article published in Cleaver Magazine, and had an original piece installed in Temple Contemporary.

With the money awarded to Gilbreath from the scholarship, she was able to study kiln-formed glass and public art at the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington this past summer.

“It was incredible,” Gilbreath said. “It just made me realize how important the glass community was to me. The number of amazing people I had the opportunity to meet, speak with, and work with was unforgettable. It really confirmed that, even though I don’t always use glass and don’t consider myself simply a ‘glass artist,’ I definitely identify myself as a part of the glass community and this has shaped who I am as a person and an artist.”

After her friend, Madeline Rile Smith, mentioned that she should contribute to Cleaver Magazine, Gilbreath’s first article, “The Ground Beneath My Feet” was published in the magazine’s third issue.

“It was very exciting and rewarding, but I was also very nervous because the magazine was full of very accomplished writers of prose and poetry, and I didn’t know if my writing would be able to stand next to their incredible work,” Gilbreath said.

Gilbreath especially liked that she was able to have images supplement her text and that she received valuable feedback from the editor, a creative writing professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

“The best aspect of the process of writing for Cleaver was that I was able to get some amazing feedback and suggestions on how to improve my writing from the magazine’s creator and editor, Karen Rile,” Gilbreath said.

The article allowed Gilbreath to write about her experience within the glass community in Philadelphia.

“I think people really enjoyed it, and it was nice to share my ideas and my writing with people who are only used to seeing the visual side of my creativity,” Gilbreath said. “It spread around the larger glass community pretty fast thanks to the Tyler Glass professors and the department head, Sharyn O’Mara.”

Gilbreath continued to promote her work in the glass community when Robert Blackson commissioned her to recreate her piece “Maintenance” for Temple Contemporary’s “Silent Works” series. In the original piece, she filled every single crack in the floor of the Glass Department at Tyler with a different color of plaster in order to “repair and accentuate the beauty in the details of the cracks beneath our feet.”

“If you look closely in the floors of the gallery, you can see streaks of bright green and blue. It was an amazing and exciting opportunity to do this with Temple Contemporary, as it was my first larger-scale commission in a gallery,” Gilbreath said. “It was also an incredible learning experience to work with a gallery and figure out the logistics of the installation as far as material, installation, and de-installation went.

Gilbreath greatly values the interactions and connections she has been able to have with people in the Tyler and glass communities.

“I think it is important for artists to talk about their work with non-artists and to create dialogues with people in other disciplines,” Gilbreath said. “Interacting with only artists can sometimes limit our ways of thinking.”

To read Gilbreath’s article, visit

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