In the Middle Ages, glass was such a rare and wondrous material that only the very rich could afford it and only the very stupid could wear it as plate armor. Master the magical substance with today's Groupon to the Art Glass Center of San Jose, a project of the San Jose Glass Artist Alliance. Choose between the following options:
• For $70, you get a four-hour Glass Artist for the Day class (a $140 value).
• For $160, you get a two-hour private party package (a $320 value).
Art Glass Center packs its 10,000-square-foot workspace with top-shelf tools and soldering irons, arranging tables into squares so aspiring artisans can socialize with each other. Glass Artist for the Day's instructors guide small groups of up to eight students as they transmute three glass-making techniques—torch working, fused glass, and stained glass—into three take-home treasures. Melting hot glass with a torch can transform it into a sculpted flower or a small animal, and fusing plates together might yield a 6-inch tile, a dish, or a scale replica of Herbert Hoover. A few vibrant hues and the copper-foil method produce a stained-glass sun catcher that is easily hung from windows and the uvulas of yelling bosses. Check the schedule of upcoming sessions.
If you'd rather know everyone in the class already, convene up to eight friends, coworkers, or Navy Seals for a two-hour private party that collectively walks you through the process of creating fused-glass art. Potential projects include a 9-inch plate, a set of four coasters, a picture frame, a cheese platter, or a pair of glass slippers with matching glass socks. Art Glass Center's professionals supply all equipment for each class and fire all pieces in the kiln themselves to prevent students from being pushed in by German fairy-tale ragamuffins. Torch-working and stained-glass creations can be taken home the same day, but fused-glass projects need to be fired in the kiln overnight and either picked up or mailed the next day.
Art Glass Center of San Jose
After forming the San Jose Glass Artist Alliance, area artists took their creative passion one step further with the Art Glass Center of San Jose, a refracted haven where they could share their individual expertise with students. Inside the spacious, brightly lit confines, the artists instruct fledgling glassworkers on how to craft distinct pieces in the form of picture frames, coasters, and sun catchers. Following classes, students are encouraged to stay for open lab time, where they can continue working on projects while wearing their old 7th-grade-science lab coats.