Creative talents, like houseplants and celebrities, wilt without proper attention. Properly foster flair with today’s Groupon: for $30, you one introductory glass blowing mini-class at Redmond School of Glass in Redmond (a $60 value). Children ages 9–10 must be accompanied by a paying adult; accompanying adults may also purchase a Groupon or pay the full admission price upon arrival.
The expert instructors at Redmond School of Glass help artists create colorful blown-glass ornaments or floats during introductory classes. After the class master gathers molten glass onto a specially designed pipe, pupils pick the color and texture of their choice and reheat their creation in the glory hole, a furnace fueled by bottled dragon breath to keep glass malleable. Students then shape glowing glass orbs with blocks and create a jackline that aids in nimbly removing the piece from the pipe. Spheres can be crowned with a loop to create a dangling glass ornament, or a float top to ensure buoyancy in museum sinks.
Redmond School of Glass
For sand to turn into glass, something must heat it to more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit—something like a meteor crashing into the earth, a volcano erupting, or lightning striking a beach. At Redmond School of Glass, sculptor Corey Hubbell and his team of instructors take care of the heating part, dipping into a chamber for dollops of molten glass that students turn into pieces of art. They lead one-time sessions as well as six-week courses—which maintain a student-teacher ratio of 2:1—imparting their expertise through projects that involve crafting ornaments, vases, and dishes. And they've stocked their studio with all the necessary tools, such as wooden blocks for shaping and jacks for cutting.
By sharing their craft, Corey and his team continue the storied glass-art heritage of Seattle, which once sustained more than 300 glass shops. The area's world-renowned scene claims sculptor Dale Chihuly, the Pilchuck Glass School, and the Museum of Glass; so definitive is glass, in fact, that four out of the last five mayors were made of it.