Within the century-old confines of Uptown Glassworks' warehouse, furnaces melt handfuls of kaleidoscopic frit into malleable shapes manipulated by a team of professional glass blowers. But these tradesmen don't just create works for the gallery; they also share their secrets with students in a variety of activities, from introductory courses on making beads and paperweights to advanced instruction that can be applied toward college credit or used to fix the pockmarked walls of glass houses.
During the shop's Blow-Your-Own sessions, participants apply color to clear, molten glass that has recently emerged from a 2,000-degree furnace, then blow their mixture into 1 of 20 different shapes. The next day, patrons can pick up their cooled and packaged creations, comparing their handiwork to the gallery's collection of products, which are made by more than 90 local and regional glass artists.
Museum Quality Framing’s staff encases cherished photos, artwork, and three-dimensional objects in materials ranging from polished wood to leather. Ready-made photo frames ($10+) clasp snapshots in a wood-and-glass embrace, protecting them from wrinkles, stains, and the scratchy nuzzles of sentimental lumberjacks. Lackluster walls can find colorful companionship in preframed artwork and a vehicle for deep self-reflection in mirrors ($100+). Ensconce valuables in custom framing packages ($69.99+), which can accommodate sports memorabilia, or preserve fine art with archival mats and backing boards. Handcrafted frames add a Renaissance flair to photos, utilizing materials such as 22-karat gold leaf to create one-of-a-kind frames.
Velocity Art & Design, an aesthetically oriented emporium, provides visitors with a range of eccentric home essentials, including jewelry, lamps, ceramics, books, and other eye-pleasing wonders capable of turning houses into homes into at-home galleries. The artfully designed Ferm Living Owl Kids Apron ($34.25) brings whimsy to breakfast prep, and an array of artwork, such as earthy, human-brushed Labokoff prints ($28 each) and playful Urbancase Camera Candles ($30 each), spruce up any space. Beyond aesthetic wonders, Velocity also carries many curiously innovative items such as the patented Nanda Clocky alarm clock ($50), which rolls away upon wake-up call, forcing snooze-button smashers to stay punctual, active, and suspicious of all autonomous machines.
The Museum of Glass is the only museum west of the Mississippi to exclusively showcase one of art's most delicate media: glass. The museum provides a dynamic learning environment to appreciate the medium of glass through creative experiences, collections, and exhibitions. Stop by the Hot Shop, housed in the museum's 90-foot-tall stainless-steel dome, to watch professional artists as they blow and shape molten glass into artistic sculptures or thought bubbles. Be sure to examine the museum's outdoor installations, including Martin Blank's Fluent Steps, the colorful Chihluly Bridge of Glass, and the Water Forest, a series of towering acrylic tubes filled with rising and falling water.
Yuen Lui Studios, a family-owned photography business specializing in individual and family portraits and wedding photography, creates photographic heirlooms in a tradition of quality it has upheld since 1947. With several area Yuen Lui studios available, each boasts a multitude of backdrop options for portraiture sessions, or photographers may take sessions outdoors to add natural scenery to the frame. Wedding and engagement shots come to life under the careful eyes of each photographer as they seize rare moments and trap them in frames to be displayed like trophies from a hunt. High-school, child, baby, and family portraits keep precious memories locked in time for clients, who can peruse an online gallery of their images after their session.