My Atlanta glassblowing rebirth has been many years in the making, it now being over 30 years after I was first introduced to glassblowing way back in my college years. That is when I saw a professor creating his huge colorful signature pieces on the roof of the art house at Centre College in 1988. I was hooked, immediately.
Every chance I had while at Centre, I took a glassblowing class. I don’t know that anyone would have ever considered me artistic growing up, but for whatever reason, this was one artistic medium that I fell in love with.
After college, having graduated with a Psychology degree, and not really wanting to go back to school for a graduate degree, I opened by own studio, FireFly Glass, in Louisville, KY. Looking back, I realize now that I wasn’t nearly as proficient as I should have been to open my own studio, but going to work in front of a furnace every day isn’t the worst way to learn.
It didn’t take long to pick up the intricacies of working by myself in a hot glass studio, and I really enjoyed pushing my own limits and discovering what I could create on my own, without relying on anyone else’s help or assistance. Plus, I couldn’t afford to hire anyone!
But working by yourself can also be very limiting, and I didn’t get as much exposure to other artists as I would have liked, and now find myself looking for every opportunity that I can to watch other more talented artists work, and try to pick up a few of those skills I should have learned in my many years of experience.
Hot Glass Goes On Hold!
In my early to mid-30’s, I put my artistic ambitions on hold to spend more time at home with my young children, getting them to and from school and all of their assorted activities. But in 2017, those young children both went off to college, and it was no longer as important for me to be serving as PTA President or carpool coordinator!
With a little more free time on my hands, I decided the time was right to get back into the glass blowing studio. My wife and I moved to Texas in 2017, and then to the Atlanta area in 2020 during the Great Pandemic, which meant that I was looking for a glassblowing studio in each location in which I would be able to (hopefully) rediscover some old glass skills from 15-20 years earlier.
Lucky me, I found a hot glass business just outside of downtown Atlanta that held classes, had a small gallery and even allowed a few local artists to rent some time! Perfect.
Except that the studio was close to an hour from my home, and my rental price seemed to magically continue to rise, to a point where it didn’t make sense to rent time when I could set up a hobby shop in my garage at home.
Life As A Blown Glass Hobbyist
About once a week, sometimes twice, sometimes not at all, I head to my garage and produce a very limited number of art glass pieces. At this point, given my focus on learning the many glass blowing skills I should have learned when I first started, that means I am not very productive, maybe only a handful of finished pieces a week! If I am making smaller objects, like pumpkins, drinking glasses or paperweights, I may end up with a few that I really like during one glassblowing session.
Now that I have the time to practice in my own garage, and occasionally attend a workshop with some really great glassblowers, I find that I have a greater range of possibilities than I did when I was blowing glass full time. I no longer have to worry about overhead or meeting gallery expectations, I simply choose what to make each and every day I fire up my equipment.
Now that I am settled in Atlanta, for the time being at least, I have started to update my website with a few pieces that I have on hand that are available for purchase. Or if someone prefers, we could probably work out a custom order as well, I aim to please!
I am aware that this website started out as a food blog, but I hope that you excuse me as I continue to add glassblowing content! If you are interested in seeing what kind of work I have available, just click over to my Glass For Sale page and I should have a good representation of what I have on hand.
Beautiful pieces. It’s a fun hobby/skill to have. I find the more I blow the happier I am. Happy New Year!!!
Thank you! And I agree, the hot shop is my “happy place,” so good for me to disconnect and really concentrate!