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: for $99, you get a two-hour glass-blowing class, plus materials for up to four self-made pieces, at Santa Barbara Art Glass (a $200 value). Classes run Monday–Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m.
At Santa Barbara Art Glass, proprietor Saul Alcaraz mentors novice molders as they wield rods tipped with molten glass during group glass-molding sessions. During each class, Saul teaches students to shape up to four pieces of their own choosing, such as pitchers, vases, and ornaments. Unlike online glass-blowing classes, one-on-one sessions boost confidence as students shape their molten materials into finished form. Students can incorporate color into their creations to make them more attractive bait for trapping rainbows. Classes are offered for anyone aged 12 and up Monday–Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saul also adorns his studio with the crystalline fruits of his labors, inspiring visitors with pieces such as custom lamps and iridescent perfume bottles glimmering with gold and silver details.
Santa Barbara Glassblowing Studio
Most days, Saul Alcaraz can be found toiling over his 2,000-degree glass oven, often surrounded by an enraptured crowd. A surprisingly graceful practice, his glass-blowing is often as artful as a ballet performed in a volcano as he deftly spins, rolls, blows, and cuts his pieces. Having studied the craft since 1988, today Alcaraz splits his time between making effervescently vivid pieces—such as such as custom lamps and iridescent perfume bottles—and teaching teens and adults to do the same. In classes, he trusts his students to work toward shaping their own forms, even helping them introduce color into their creations to make them more attractive bait for trapping rainbows.