Play with fire.
That's what they say at Third Degree Glass Factory, which Tony and I visited last night. The third Friday evening of each month they have an open house, complete with glass blowing demonstrations, food, drinks, and music. I've never been there before, but when I heard about it on the radio we jumped in the car and headed towards the city.
Third Degree Glass Factory opened in 2002. According to their website, they are the largest public glass art center in St. Louis, offering classes, studio rentals, and pieces for sale. They're trying to develop a glass arts community, and based on the number of people we saw at last night's open house, I think they may be succeeding.
Once we got into the neighborhood and found a place to park (which was a tiny bit difficult, because a lot of people were doing the same thing we were) we followed the other people to the entrance. The industrial-looking building was a service station in the 1930s, but it's been completely renovated. The inside of the building was divided into several distinct sections. The first room is a gallery. There were large paintings along the walls, and display pillars throughout the room held glass art pieces. A bluegrass band was playing in one corner, with several chairs arranged in front of them.
Beyond this room was a second huge area divided into several sections--an information desk to the right, a gift shop area to the left, and the studio section straight ahead. There are dedicated studios for
glassblowing, flameworking and kilnworking, the three different types of glass making. Rows of chairs were set up in front of the demonstration area, and everything was also projected onto a large screen so the people in back could see all the details. We stood off to the side and watched a couple of different demonstrations, then walked over to the gift shop to browse.
There were some amazing pieces of glass! If it could be made out of glass, it was there. Simple and complex plates, bowls, and platters. Cups and pitchers. Vases large and small. Paperweights, coasters, and flowers. All were arranged along one long side of the room. A selection of jewelry was available by the information desk. Niches along the wall held some of the more elaborate pieces. I had a great time trying to pick out my favorites.
After a while nature called and I had to make a trip to the bathroom. Even the bathrooms in the building are glass showcases! The ladies room had beautiful glass wall tile, unique vessel sinks, and faucets made out of glass. Tony said the men's room was similarly decked out.
On the way out, I picked up a class brochure. They have an interesting collection of classes year-round in all of their studios. This might not be my last visit to Third Degree Glass.