Works of glass art can be made by fusing sheets of glass together in the heat of a fiery kiln, a lava lamp with actual lava, or the mouth of a perjuring politician. Use a shortcut with today's Groupon: for $30, you get a two-hour Make-a-Plate class at Dixon-Ballog Glass Gallery & Studio in Pelham (a $60 value).
This locally owned glass gallery and studio champions local and regional artists while helping new glass hobbyists learn the craft. The Make-a-Plate class, which was recently featured on Alabama's 13, begins by letting students choose glass from the studio’s vast selection of sultry-hot and super-smooth colors. Then, Dixon-Ballog’s dedicated instructors, many of whom are established local artists, shepherd beginners through the processes of cutting, fusing, and consulting the stars for design advice. Finally, plates are fired in the Jen-Ken tub kiln, and finished pieces can be picked when they cool after firing. Triumphant graduates gain an elegantly curvaceous, wildly colorful, square, 8-inch fused glass plate to use as dining ware, wall décor, or a frisbee that knocks teeth out. Check the schedule for class times. Reservations are required, as classes are limited to 12 students.
Alabama's 13 featured Dixon-Ballog Glass Gallery & Studio.