Glass provides a resting place for wine, eveningwear for Cinderellas, and a more dramatic exit from 44th-floor windows for Bruce Willises. Shatter artistic inhibitions with today's Groupon: for $49, you get a five-hour glass-blowing class with two take-home ornaments or paperweights at Glass by James Michael (a $100 value). Click here for a list of dates; classes begin at 10 a.m.
The subject of his own PBS television special, glass blower James Michael shares artistic wisdom during approximately five-hour glass-blowing classes. Up to 20 students form molten glass into two objects of their choice, either colorful paperweights or vibrant ornaments. James Michael imparts glass-blowing techniques that landed his artwork in both the White House and international museums. Pupils learn to wield a blowpipe to bend glass to their will, much like diplomats wield special passports to bend the law. All materials are included, so patrons may leave sliding glass doors at home.
Glass by James Michael & Co.
For James Michael Kahle, the molten material he uses to craft his sculptures and vessels is a living thing, an element that must be cooperated with in order to achieve the desired response. Since beginning his career at the Toledo Museum of Art in 1990, the artisan has come to master a number of methods for creating stunning visual effects, from melding metal and alloys into the glass to encasing air bubbles. James channels his skill into crafting pieces—such as installation pieces, prismatic sinks, and even memorial sculptures forged around the ashes of a departed loved one—for display and use around the home. The glassworker also invites groups into his studio for classes, vigilant as his students work their own pieces in lava-powered ovens reaching more than 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit.