Despite the alluring properties of open flames, only glass, custom masonry, and middle-school diaries benefit from being thrust into them. Give your jewelry box new flare with today's Groupon: for $17, you get a two-hour glass fusing workshop and pendant at The Glass Workbench in Saint Charles (a $35 value; materials included). This Groupon is good for the Fused Dichroic Glass Pendant class, which is offered Tuesday evenings from 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. starting March 8, or Saturday mornings from 10 a.m.–12 p.m. on March 12, March 26, April 2, April 16 or May 7.
The Glass Workbench leans on more than 25 years of experience teaching and forging glass artisans, helping students of all skill sets discover new art forms. During the workshop, up to 10 crystal-creators graduate through the basic steps of glass fusion. The lesson begins when new glassmakers select from a variety of colors including those from the primary, secondary, and completely invisible spokes of the color wheel. The chosen hues of crystallized sand are submitted to repeated firings, quenching the lust for boutique jewelry and letting employees go. Each glassmaker designs and creates an iridescent dichroic pendant, known for color-shifting, neck-accentuating properties. Pendants must cure overnight at The Glass Workbench before they are ready to go home the next day affixed to their parent's chosen chain.
Jean Dryden adopted The Glass Workbench from parents and founders Glen and Joanne Bishop. Bishop oversees a building recorded in the National Register of Historic Places as well as a team of glass experts with several years of collective experience, and no less than 20 secret crock-pot recipes among them.
Four Insider Pagers give The Glass Workbench a four-star average:
The Glass Workbench
The Glass Workbench—a stained-glass and glass-making specialty store—began as a family-owned enterprise in 1975. Back then, owners Glen and Joanne Bishop chose an old-style building on South Main Street to create their shrine to the age-old art of glassmaking. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, the building's 2-foot-thick Burlington limestone walls enclose the shop's inventory of supplies and books about glass arts. They also house mosaic stained-glass artworks by Julie Bishop Day, Glen and Joanne's daughter, who developed the stepping-stone technique for glass decoration. Local crafters take advantage of glassmaking workshops and admire the work of the staff's resident artisans, whose custom stained-glass pieces portray nature imagery and legendary moments in history such as when Ben Franklin invented Windex.