Glass provides a resting place for wine, eveningwear for Cinderellas, and a more dramatic exit from 44th floor windows for Bruce Willises. Shatter artistic inhibitions with today's Groupon to Janke Studios, located in the Studioplex of the historic Martin Luther King Jr. district. Choose between the following options:
- For $75, you get a one-day hot-glass experience class, from noon to 3:30 p.m. or 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on a Saturday or Sunday (a $150 value).
- For $225, you get a five-week beginning glassblowing class from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesdays or Thursdays (a $450 value).
Under the crystal-clear instruction of founder and veteran glassblower Matt Janke, Janke Studios elucidates the many panels of glassmaking with a refracted array of classes. Fragile souls are schooled in scorching entry-level techniques during the hot-glass experience, learning how to gather and shape glass drawn from a 2,400-degree furnace. All students get to create their own paperweights and flowers, ideal for helping hummingbirds overcome their well-documented fear of their own reflections. Novices seeking a more thorough education can enroll in the beginning glassblowing course, a comprehensive track where the construction of myriad reflective projects, such as flowers, paperweights, tumblers, and fish, allow students to progressively build their shard-savvy skills.
Janke Studios dazzles students with a whimsically kaleidoscopic gallery and a studio boasting an impressive assemblage of equipment, including a color furnace that doubles as a Skittle-shading machine. No experience is necessary to enroll in any of the studio’s classes, and all materials are provided for both class options.
Matt Janke dreamed of landing the perfect glass-blowing job. After moving to Atlanta in 1986, he realized there wasn't a single glass studio in town, granting his art a ready-made niche. After settling in, he returned to grad school, earning an MFA in glass with the intent to launch his own university program and ultimately procure his own space. By the time he graduated in 1992, Matt further honed his skills, stockpiled equipment, and, in 1996, opened his own studio and hired himself.
Beyond the perks of being his own boss, having his own studio affords Matt a great deal of creative freedom. He infuses all his handblown light fixtures, tumblers, and vases with the prismatic swirls of his signature style, in which precise lines and natural variations vie for attention across undulating surfaces. A downtown gallery space facilitates sales of these works.
But the studio has also fulfilled more than Matt's original goal of finding glass-blowing employment, going on to catalyze a glass-blowing community. From single apprentices in the early days, the studio is now a full-fledged classroom, with space for five instructors, a dozen students, and the kilns that must melt their glass until they each finish their training by capturing and taming a fire-breathing dragon.
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Old Fourth Ward
659 Auburn Ave. NE
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