Jolley Cerebral Sustenance


Glass totem featuring a teal base, blue figure, yellow globe, blue head, all topped with a green figure enclosed in a green bell jar with two orange birds flanking the top.

Richard Jolley
b. 1952 Wichita, KS; lives and works in Knoxville, TN
Cerebral Sustenance, 1997-1998
Hand blown and sculpted glass
56 1/2 in x 6 in x 15 in
Acquired in 2012
Gift of Dani and Jack Sonnenblick


Visual Arts

Grade Range



Critical analysis


Museum trip


Personal connection worksheet

About the Artist

Richard Jolley was born in Wichita, Kansas in 1952 and moved to Oak Ridge, Tennessee as a young boy. He began his studies at Tusculum College in Greenville, Tennessee and later earned his BFA from George Peabody College (now part of Vanderbilt University).

Jolley’s work explores the human body in formats ranging from colored glass “line drawings” to brightly colored figures and totems. He leads a team of 3-5 artist assistants, for several hours in the intense heat of his studio, through the steps of furnace glass sculpting. “We mix, melt, make, anneal, and finish with acid etching,” says Jolley. “The server might set up an arm to get just the right shape, then another person opens the furnace door while a third turns the blowpipe that has the molten glass on it.  It is a well-choreographed process.” Jolley says that his team might tool and reheat a piece 100 times over a few hours to get it right. 

Learning Goal

To use critical analysis to describe the characteristics of the glass sculpture Cerebral Sustenance by Richard Jolley.

I Can Statement

I can use critical analysis to describe the characteristics of the glass sculpture Cerebral Sustenance by Richard Jolley.


Critical analysis, cerebral, critique, abstract, realistic, sustenance


  • Define and discuss critical analysis. 
  • Introduce or review the vocabulary.
  • Point out that the artist was born in Wichita, Kansas.
  • Elicit information about Kansas from the class (location, climate, capital city).
  • Discuss and explain the concepts of realistic and abstract art.
  • Is the sculpture more realistic or more abstract? Explain.
  • What do you suppose motivated the artist to create this sculpture?
  • Have the class discuss the expressions on the faces (happy, surprised, sad).
  • Elicit the moods evoked in you by the sculpture (happy, sad, serious).
  • Ask for a description of the texture (smooth, bumpy, thick, soft or hard).
  • How do you suppose the glass would feel to the touch (warm or cold)? Explain.
  • Ask the students to describe the shapes (squares, rectangles, ovals).
  • What types of lines do you observe (straight, diagonal or wavy)?
  • Is the sculpture symmetrical?


Elicit critiques (I liked or disliked the glass work because …) record responses.


Write a few sentences describing what the “heads” may be thinking.

Florida Standards

Florida Visual Arts Standards Grades K-5

  • Vocabulary: VA.1.C.3.1 / VA.2.C.3.1 / VA.3.C.3.1 / VA.4.C.3.1 / VA.1.S.1.4/ VA.2.S.1.4 / VA.3.S.1.4 / VA.4.S.1.4 / VA.5.S.1.4
  • Interpret and Reflect: VA.K.C.1 .2 / VA.1.C.1.2 / VA.2.C.1.2 / VA.3.C.1.2 / VA.4.C.1.2 / VA.5.C.1.2
  • Artist’s intent: VA.5.C.3.2
  • Critique art: VA.3.C.3.3 / VA.4.C.3.3 / VA.5.C.3.3
  • Identify shapes: MAFS.K.G.1.2 / MAFS.4.G.1.2 / MAFS.5.G.2.4

Florida Visual Arts Standards Grades 6-8

  • Vocabulary: VA.68.C.3.1 
  • Interpret and Reflect: VA.68.C.1.2
  • Artist’s intent: VA.68.S.1.5
  • Describe art from selected cultures: VA.68.H.1.1
  • Critique art: VA.68.C.3.3

Florida Visual Arts Standards Grades 9-12

  • Interpret and Reflect: VA.912.C.1
  • Vocabulary: VA.912.C.3.1
  • Describe art from selected cultures: VA.912.H.1
  • Critique art: VA.912.C.3
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