Watch artists spin molten glass into works of art, then try it yourself.
The furnaces of glassblowing studios and galleries are firing up all across the state. Glassblowing is an art form that has been around for centuries, but only in the past few decades has it become a studio art. Three Oklahoma studios give you the chance to view and purchase breathtaking glass art, in addition to watching it being made.
Glassblowing is an intense art form on many levels. Not only do you have to work with a blazing hot material, but you also have to understand the chemistry behind the blowing process and find the delicate balance required to successfully make a glass piece.
Since furnaces take raw materials and turn them into glass using heat well above 2000° F, it’s no wonder most glassblowers have had most of their arm hair singed off at one time or another. The heat causes the liquid glass to take on a range of colors, from burnt orange to steely gray to crystal clear, as it moves through different working temperatures.
Watching a glassblowing demonstration will definitely give you an elevated level of respect the next time you peruse beautiful pieces for sale in an art gallery. Glassblowers perform an intricate choreography – blowing out a glass bubble while maneuvering multiple furnaces and tools, all the while continuously spinning the blowpipe to keep the glass centered so gravity doesn’t pull it off the pipe.
So, where can you see all this in action? Take your pick of several glassblowing studios around Oklahoma.
Blue Sage Studios, located in Oklahoma City, offers glassblowing demonstrations. There’s also a gallery connected to the studio where their newest work is typically displayed. The gallery has no set hours, but the studio is open most weekends and evenings, and visitors are welcome to come watch the artists at work anytime they are in the studio.
“Half the fun of glassblowing is having people watch you do it,” says Andy Boatman, founder of Blue Sage Studios.
Taking in the art of glassblowing is a unique experience that will captivate groups young and old. Blue Sage Studios is happy to provide demonstrations to individual families or large groups.
“Our studio provides a place for people to see how it is done and really learn the process of glassblowing,” said Boatman. “We’ve had groups of 30 people come out to watch us work. It really is great fun.”
Just up the turnpike, Tulsa Glassblowing School is another great venue for experiencing world-class artisans. Located in the Brady Arts District, just north of downtown Tulsa, this 2,000-square-foot studio was established in 2007 by Sarah Diggdon. It includes a glass art gallery, as well as a studio for teaching blown-glass classes. In the gallery you can browse and purchase unique blown-glass pieces.
So whether you’re visiting Oklahoma or you live here, a glassblowing studio could be just the right addition to your next getaway. It’s definitely worth taking the time to experience and enjoy this art form and get a behind-the-scenes look at how the amazing pieces evolve from molten glass to breathtaking, one-of-a-kind works of art.
To see the grandaddy of all blown glass collections, visit the Oklahoma City Museum of Art which is home to the most comprehensive collection of Dale Chihuly blown glass in the world. The front of the museum is graced by a 55-foot-tall Chihuly tower of blown glass pieces - his tallest creation. You'll find lovely pieces of every imaginable description on display, walk under a Chihuly ceiling and sometimes feel like you've entered a Dr. Seuss book. But you're sure to be wowed by this incredible body of glass work.