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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Started 14 years ago, Knuckle Up Fitness has grown into one of the largest fitness and mixed martial arts clubs in the Southeast. And there’s a reason for this gym’s popularity—KnuckleUp welcomes everybody, from professional fighters to absolute beginners, and employs top-notch instructors who’ve competed in hundreds of bouts. They also have a mission to inspire members who may be bored by tradition fitness regimes to commit to exercising and achieve their fitness goals by offering alternative fitness options.
Each of KnuckleUp’s three locations have more than 1,000 square feet of grappling mats, a regulation-size boxing ring, and plenty of heavy, speed, and uppercut bags for pummeling. There are also free weight areas, equipped with Life Fitness and Hammer Strength Nautilus machines, where clients can strength-train at their own pace. Skilled instructors lead classes in group cycling, wrestling, boxing and kickboxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kali, and MMA, to help members get into and stay into fighting form, as well as learn to compete for titles and gain self-confidence. They also offer personal training and programs for kids, to start youth on a path toward self-discipline, physical fitness, and a role in The Karate Kid, Part III.
Dancer Asiya Khasnutdinova knew it would take more than just dedication to own a dance and health club. So in order to realize this dream, she decided to partner with her parents, enlisting her mother‘s experience running her own medical practice and her father‘s practicality and common sense learned in the corporate and banking world. Today, the family trio helps clients lose weight and have fun during dance fitness classes that combine cardio and strength training and Nordic walking workouts. Walking classes lead clients through a 50-minute workout that can help correct their posture. Alternately, the ValeoFit 1000 workout helps clients burn up to 1,000 calories and tone their entire bodies through dance routines that may include weighted hula hoops, weights, and resistance bands. When muscles get weary after workouts, a team of specialists can attempt to reduce their aches and pains with reflexology, Swedish, or deep-tissue massages.
Craig Fruchter and Stephanie Schreiber, a husband-and-wife duo, team up with an impassioned troupe of instructors to lead students toward mental and physical health through a lineup of Bikram and power-yoga classes. Their dual locations swirl with balmy temperatures to loosen tight ligaments and help students ease deeper into the tension-relieving stretches. The warm air pricks beads of sweat on shoulders and brows while flushing out toxins and the spleen's discarded Funyun bags. With an eye on preserving the environment, both studios are scrubbed with nontoxic cleaning products each day and feature textured rubber floors and fresh-air ventilation systems. Marin Magazine in 2010 named Red Dragon one of the best yoga studios in Marin, and Pacific Sun named the business the best Marin yoga studio in 2012 and 2013.
The golfing gurus at Edwin Watts Golf Academy diagnose and correct their students' poor swing and putting habits in an effort to help them improve their shots and lower their scores. In one-on-one swing-analysis sessions, students learn a repeatable swing that eliminates tendencies they may have to slice, hook, push, or pull the ball. A special laser attaches to the end of the player's club and tracks the swing path while JC Video swing-analysis software records the session from two separate angles, lest analysis be thrown off by only looking at the golfer’s good side. Putting analysis employs Tomi technology to measure eight separate parameters of the putting stroke, from clubhead orientation at address to swing path and tempo. After swing and putting lessons, students may access the recordings on a password-protected website, so they can forward videos to friends or sports-documentary filmmakers.
The FAA-certified pilots at Prestige Helicopters, Inc. fly their passengers over downtown Atlanta, the King and Queen towers, and Turner Field. They helm a fleet of three Robinson R44 helicopters, as well as R22 whirlybirds, each spacious enough for up to three guests. Along the way, skybound guests peep at the area's arterial highways, majestic mountains, and winding Chattahoochee River, intermittently soaring high enough to fly over skyscrapers while avoiding most feral clouds.
Pilots also instill basics of takeoff, steering, and landing during flight-training programs that start students off on the cloud-kicking path to obtaining private, commercial, and flight-instructor licenses. When not leading tours and training programs, the skywaymen shuttle passengers between airports and hotels and take aerial photographers up for photo shoots.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.