photo: courtesy of Chicago Hot Glass
Owners Jeremy Scidmore, Daniel Staples, Brad Braun and Steven Webber instill this glassworks with a party atmosphere and social conscience. (At a recent benefit, reggae blasted over the in-house speaker system, while guests picked through a buffet table filled with fruits, vegetables, hummus, and ranch dip.) It's a hip-meets-helping-hands approach that echoes throughout all that is Chicago Hot Glass.
Most Chicago glass galleries won't accept an artist's work unless they've had more than 10 years experience. With a gallery that rotates shows every month, glass blowers' work that otherwise would never see the light of day is put on display in a small side-room, many of which are created by students at the shop.
Private lessons, which range from $65 to $75 per hour, are available daily; students will usually start by learning to make cups or paperweights. A beginning class, which involves gathering molten glass out of the furnace, runs $425 for two five-hour sessions, while the fusing class for making creative patterns is $165. For the more advanced blower, studio rentals start at $35 an hour and go up to $55, depending on the size of your desired glory hole.
When I asked Seidmore what he loved most about blowing glass, he said, "The smell of the wax and the burning paper...like a big campfire," though after three years of constant exposure, "unfortunately I can't smell anymore." His enthusiasm carries over to the many functions the studio puts on: Jazz night takes place every third Thursday from 8-11 p.m. and there's an open studio every Saturday from 1-5 p.m.
Centerstage Reviewer: David Rosenstock