Test drive: Make-your-own wine glass class at St. Petersburg studio
There is no reason a place as hot as Tampa Bay should be such a popular spot for an art form that involves spending long periods of time around fire.
- Yet, the medium is so prolific here that the Gulf Coast has been coined by some in the industry as the "Glass Coast." St. Petersburg alone is home two two glass art museums.
Driving the news: I recently joined a friend for a more hands-on glass experience: A make-your-own wine glass workshop at Zen Glass Studio and Gallery in St. Pete's Warehouse Arts District.
The experience: Turns out "make your own wine glass" means "make your own wine glass stem," which was honestly a relief. Making an entire glass felt a tad ambitious.
- Zen had bases and let us pick our bowl style from a table full of options. Then, we picked up to three hues from a bin of multi-colored glass rods.
- The studio provided us with sunglasses to protect our eyes and allow us to see the glass in the flame, instead of just a fiery blob.
- After a quick tutorial, we lined up behind our burner stations. It was time.
First, we melded our colors together with a clear glass rod, pressing them into each other while spinning the rods in the same direction.
- This part was my favorite. Watching the pieces of glass collapse into each other was hypnotic, almost soothing.
- That process left us with a hunk of glass that we could heat again and sculpt into our desired shape. I used a paddle to press my piece into a rectangle then tweezers to lengthen and twist.
- Zen's glass artists were on hand throughout to help and handled attaching the stem to the bowl and base. The whole class took about an hour.
- Our masterpieces had to sit overnight in a kiln to fuse together. I went back to pick up my glass the next day and was so happy with the finished product.
The bottom line: I had a lot of fun and have a cool souvenir to show for it.
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