UI teacher donates funds raised from fused glass artwork to children in Ukraine

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Eric Hoffman, who researches radiology, medicine and biomedical engineering, will donate all proceeds from his artwork sales during the Iowa City Gallery’s Spring Walk to children in Ukraine.

Isabelle Cervantes

Eric Hoffman, professor of radiology, medicine and biomedical engineering, poses for a portrait at the University of Iowa Hospital on Tuesday, March 29, 2022. (Isabella Cervantes/The Daily Iowan)


As a researcher who has extensively studied the human lung and heart with CT imaging, Professor Eric Hoffman of the University of Iowa described the images as both artistic and scientific. His passion for science blends with an adoration for art through his fused glass creations.

Last month, Hoffman sold some of his art as part of the Spring Gallery Walk in downtown Iowa City. But instead of enjoying his vibrant fused glass bowls and decorated plates, he opted to donate all of his profits to children in Ukraine, where Russia’s invasion of the country has killed hundreds.

Hoffman sold her art at AKAR, a local art and design store, with several pieces ranging in price from $95 to $325. His decorated plates featured cabins, barns, trees and even a piece depicting a bright red line drawn through a group of farm animals, inspired by his vegetarianism.

Some of his work is still for sale at AKAR, and all future revenue from these fused glass pieces will be donated to the Save the Children Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund, which Hoffman says stands apart from other Ukrainian charities. because he is a parent.

“I think, just as a parent, you think your own kids are in that situation,” he said. “I think it’s just kind of a common human trait.”

Hoffman also noted that his family tree stems from both Belarus and Russiaand he feels “almost embarrassed” by the actions of these countries.

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In the late 19th century, Hoffman’s Jewish grandfather, on his paternal side, fled Belarus by bribing a border guard and landed in Chicago after the majority of his family had been killed in concentration camps. . Hoffman’s maternal grandmother also left Russia and started farming in Colorado.

“It reminded me that this was the country my grandfather fled from so many years ago. It was such a terrible place then, and it’s still such a terrible place now” , Hoffman said, “I just felt that kind of camaraderie to do something for Ukraine.”

Hoffman said he took ceramics classes in high school and even took stained glass classes in college, but didn’t start working with fused glass until much later.

While attending his one-year-old nephew’s Bar Mitzvah, he said his sister arranged a trip to a craft store to entertain the parents she was hosting, where they could each choose a craft to make.

“I picked some molten glass, put a piece of molten glass together, then left it for them to put in their kiln,” he said. “Unfortunately, I think I chose different glasses that were incompatible with each other, and it exploded, so I ended up with a bunch of crumpled pieces of broken shard pieces.”

Despite the learning curve that comes with working with the medium, Hoffman said he was intrigued enough by the process to have purchased his own kiln.

A scientist through and through, Hoffman decided to continue experimenting with molten glass and his kiln. He said that although he never expected it, it is yet another example in his life where his scientific training and artistic interests intersected.

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