Although The Canal Fulton Glassworks opened in 2009, the timber-framed structure that it inhabits was built nearly two centuries ago. Inside, the business has transformed its historic dwelling into a modern-day showcase of Ohio-based artists, with more than 3,000 handmade works on display, from glass and ceramics to furniture and paintings. The gallery also shares its artistic prowess with the community during hands-on classes, including glass-making workshops that focus on paperweights, pendants, and beads.
Earning a nod as Best Art Gallery in the Akron-Canton area from Fox 8’s Hot List in 2009 and a nomination for the Wooster 2010 Small Business Award, the custom framers at Gallery in the Vault apply an artist’s eye and an aesthetician’s touch to every project, spiffing up everything from reality-TV-star posters to their specialty, illuminated manuscripts. Employing local artists and visiting talent from around the world, Gallery in the Vault has earned a reputation for framing illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages, dating as far back as 1200 AD. Their artisans developed a unique technique to make both sides of the hand-calligraphied pages visible and capable of lively conversation. Print-owners with other framing needs can choose from an array of techniques, materials, and artist accents. Prices vary based on print sizes and customer preferences. For example, the Vault’s technicians can enhance an 11"x14" print of a ferret in a floppy hat with a 17"x20" gold frame ($150), gold fillet molding ($45), and a green cotton mat ($25). Along with the glass front ($22), fitting ($20), and other mounting materials ($10), the project would run about $272.
Glass Bubble Project's owners Mike Kaplan and Chris McGillicutty are business partners, friends, and working artists. Beginning in 1998, they repurposed their garage space into a working studio where professional artists and students create side by side, firing delicate one-of-a-kind masterpieces—and, according to Cleveland Magazine, the occasional grilled cheese sandwich—in the shop's 2,000-degree furnace. Their glass-blowing and welding classes teach adults and children to create one-of-a-kind artwork as nearby artists at work bolster creativity. Besides classes, the studio invites guests to watch their free public demonstrations and grants private studio time to artists in need and broken bottles looking for a fresh start.
The shop's resident artists craft and sell sconces, chandeliers, and vases from recycled glass and repurposed metal. Nicknamed “Clevetion Glass” to simultaneously lampoon delicate Venetian glass and celebrate Cleveland's heartiness, their blend of industrial parts and elegant glasswork toughens up the décor of private residences and commercial buildings, such as the Ritz Carlton, all across the country.