Much like professional skydivers, wily coyotes, and other careers that involve a degree of danger, most professional glassblowers aren’t self-taught. Joshua Poll, however, learned to harness the glass furnace all by himself, today imparting more than a decade of self-taught experience to Zen Glass Studios, where he and fellow glass smith David Walker create custom works of art by hand. Together they shape glass into authentic and unique pieces, including custom glassware and jewelry to wear while meeting a spouse’s goldfish for the first time.
Within their studio, Joshua and David teach workshops and classes, during which students survey basic to advanced glass-blowing techniques, crafting their own handmade objects such as ornaments, beer glasses, and vases. The duo also runs a full glassblower training program, which follows a syllabus structured to arm all students with all the necessary skills to set out on their own in the industry, just as Joshua did all those years ago.
The third annual St. Pete Oktoberfest, hosted by the Grand Central District Association, is St. Petersburg's largest beer festival, featuring craft-beer tastings and live music. Attendees can tipple samples from dozens of breweries, including Bell's Brewery, Dogfish Head, Sam Adams, Angry Orchard, and many others. A home brewer's challenge on Friday tests out homebrewed beers against old favorites, so home-beer enthusiasts can test out their recipes on actual people instead of the wild deer that show up in their backyards.
In addition to the extensive selection of microbrews and iconic beers, the two-day street festival also features live music, including performances from singer-songwriter John Kelly on Friday. Saturday's music merges rock, blues, jazz, and funk, with performances from Florida-native Damon Fowler, Bobby Lee Rodgers Trio, and Serotonic.
Since 1922, St. Petersburg Museum of History has preserved the heritage of St. Petersburg and the Pinellas Peninsula with expansive collections and four galleries that host annually rotating exhibits. Its permanent exhibits, meanwhile, trace the area’s history from Native Americans to the present day through artifacts such as a cannonball fired by Union sailors and replica of a parlor car from the Orange Belt Railway. Elsewhere, the World's First Commercial Airline Gallery charts commercial aviation history with a full-size working replica of the Benoist Airboat and the first-ever pterodactyl to earn a commercial-flying license. Visitors looking to delve deeper into the past can explore more than 32,000 artifacts in the museum archives or partake in one of its educational programs such as tours, community classes, and camps.
As a part of its continuing mission to promote the cultural and economic impacts of independent filmmaking, the not-for-profit St. Petersburg–Clearwater Film Society hosts the annual Sunscreen Film Festival. Each day of the four-day festival packs in more than 12 hours of short- and feature-film screenings, as well as workshops on the filmmaking process, such as "Tips for Creating a Talking Picture." Local documentarians and producers of comedic shorts, genre pieces, or feature-length films showcase their work for eager audiences and industry professionals. Myriad workshops cover aspects of screenwriting and acting as well as promotional arts such as how to land an agent or how to use social media as an advertising and networking tool. Many nights also feature concerts and after parties, allowing auteurs, musicians, and audience members to mingle.
Local power couple Heidrun and Alan Divers spent the first ten years of their marriage searching for a business model that they could build side by side and that would cultivate their creative impulses. Today, they oversee The Great Frame Up’s three area studios, which cover artwork and photos with thousands of frame and matte combinations and prevent 3D keepsakes and sports memorabilia from selling themselves on e-Bay by enshrouding them in shadowboxes and acrylic cases. Framing jobs take place entirely on-site at each location, ensuring a speedy turnaround on projects and a personal guarantee on all craftsmanship. The Great Frame Up’s website offers tips and trends to help customers navigate the process, from choosing frames to hanging and arranging finished pieces.
At being, owner Amy Bromley draws on her two decades of professional design experience to help shoppers convert their spaces into breathtaking expressions of style. Throw pillows burst with geometric and animal-print designs in the show room, which also holds kiln-dried hardwood furnishings and handmade jewelry and accents. Like the formal plaid suit of a lumberjack, pieces in the show room express both an elegant gentility and rustic, rough-hewn ethos. Shoppers peruse vases carved from driftwood, tables made from twisted roots, and candleholders made of silvery deer antlers. The attentive staff at being works hand in hand with homeowners to help make over living spaces with in-home appointments and full-scale consultations from professional designers.