By Peg Lopata, Contributing writer
Region – After a successful forty-year career in computer programming, John Hegarty has exchanged his keyboard for a glass cutter, grinder, soldering iron and a kiln.
These are different tools than he had been used to as Hegarty now works as a glass artist. But this line of work isn’t entirely new as Hegarty was already interested in various crafts for over four decades, before making this switch.
Glassworks offer new beginning
A love for glasswork began for Hegarty when he took a stained-glass class at Assabet Valley Technical High School in Marlborough. He was inspired and now has been working with glass for forty-three years.
“Seeing something that can be displayed or worn as jewelry from bits of glass inspires me to do this craft,” he recently told the Community Advocate.
Hegarty makes both stained glass and fused glass creations. Specifically, he designs and creates unique glass jewelry including earrings, pendants, pins, bracelets, rings and more, using a kiln that fuses glass objects at 1,800 degrees.
This process utilizes “dichocic glass.”
Ever interested in technology, Hegarty explained, this is a material created in a vacuum chamber by atomizing a metal with a laser. NASA first developed this high-tech process to make glass for use on space capsules and space suits. Now, though, dichroic glass is also conducive for making jewelry for the fact that it maintains its color even at the very high temperatures created inside a kiln.
Hegarty lives life of the craftsperson and then some
Whenever possible, Hegarty shows his works at various craft fairs.
Outside of that, he was a working member of the local Craftworks cooperative in Northborough for over thirty-eight years. His creations can still be seen there.
Now living in Shrewsbury, John and his wife Judy previously lived in Westborough for thirty-six years. They have two daughters, 53 and 41 and three grandchildren, boys nineteen and sixteen-year old twins.
“We have a low-maintenance condo [now] that’s convenient to everything,” Hegarty said.
He continues to create.