Oct 24, 2023 - News

Test drive: Make-your-own wine glass class at St. Petersburg studio

A woman in a yellow top and tie-dye baseball gap melts tubes of glass over an open flame.

Kathryn having way too much fun with fire. Photo: Courtesy of Mallory Arents

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.

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 price: The 10am class cost $100 on Zen's website but we used Groupon, which offers discounted rates.

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.
A woman in a yellow top handling molten glass with a pair of tweezers.
Sculpting my hunk of glass into a twisty wine glass stem. Photo: Courtesy of Mallory Arents
  • 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.

A glass filled with an amber liquid beside a can of Cigar City Jai Alai India Pale Ale beer.
I didn't have wine, ok?! Photo: Kathryn Varn/Axios

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