Seattle has a rich history when it comes to art. From musicians to painters, Seattle has managed to produce artists that seem to reach out into every genre and medium of art and glassblowing is no exception.
From the tourist hotspot, Chihuly Glass and Garden, to local glassblowing studios like Glasshouse Studio, Seattle is keeping the art of handcrafted glass-blown art alive. Below are 6 of the best places to experience the beauty of Seattle’s glassblowing studios.
Seattle’s Best Glass Studios, Stores, and Museums Worth Visiting
- Seattle Glassblowing Studio
- Glasshouse Studio
- Avalon Glassworks
- Fremont Antique Glass Company
- Chihuly Garden and Glass
Before we review this list of glassblowing studios and museums, you might be wondering why Seattle is such an important epicenter for the field. The short answer is that one of the pioneers of modern glassblowing, Dale Chihuly, was born in nearby Tacoma, Washington.
In 1960, advancements in glasswork made it possible for artists to begin working outside factories and in their own studios. It was at this time that Chihuly began experimenting with molten glass while a student at the University of Washington. After traveling the world, he discovered teams creating glass-blown art on Venice’s Murano Island in 1968. This technique inspired Chihuly, and after returning to the United States he co-founded a glass school named Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, a town north of Seattle.
The schools Chihuly set up (he also created the Hilltop Artists Program) created a vibrant glassblowing community in the region. In 1979, Chihuly was injured and no longer able to blow glass. After this time he began teaching and directing a team. This shift toward leading a team meant hundreds of artists who worked with Chihuly were also located in Seattle.
1. Seattle Glassblowing Studio
Every month, the Seattle Glassblowing Studio hosts a free live glass-blowing demo in their hot shop. In addition to demos, they offer group activities and private events, including glass-blowing classes and private lessons. For those who cannot make it to the studio in person, they even have virtual experiences where viewers can request an art piece from a professional glassblower and have it shipped to their home.
The Seattle Glassblowing Studio is also highly active in local events, including art walks where they perform live demos. Guests can also visit the studio at any time to watch the artists at work in the hot shop.
Opened in 1991, the Seattle Glassblowing Studio has been providing a combination of handcrafted glass artworks and public events, demos, and classes to the public for over 30 years. Their studio is located in Belltown and is open every day.
2. Glasshouse Studio
The bright and colorful Glasshouse Studio is a gallery, shop, and studio combined. Visitors can shop either in person or online, as well as view their gallery pieces, and watch the artists at work all at the same time. Patrons can also schedule appointments to visit or consultations to help them select pieces of artwork to take home.
Glasshouse Studio is run by a team of artists committed to the craft of glass-blowing while simultaneously exploring new styles and forms of art. Their team is led by Christopher Sternberg-Powidzki, also known as Sterno, who has been working with glass as an art form since he was 15 years old.
Founded in 1971, Glasshouse Studio is known as the oldest glass-blowing studio in the Pacific Northwest. They have since gone on to gain international renown and remain dedicated to fostering a community of artists interested in glass blowing and its artistic process.
3. Avalon Glassworks
Inspired by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, Avalon Glassworks creates hand-made gifts and decor, like vases, bowls, ornaments, and sculptures. They specialize in a contemporary style of blown glass, with each piece designed to be as unique as possible.
Located on Avalon Way in Seattle, Avalon Glassworks is part store and part hot shop. Visitors can browse their colorful art pieces while watching the artists at work through a store window. Avalon Glassworks also can be found at a variety of local art events and they are constantly updating their shops with new glass products inspired by local attractions and nature.
Founded in 1993 in Luna Park, Avalon Glassworks has been creating gorgeous and colorful pieces of art inspired by Seattle for the last 30 years. Their shop is near Alki Beach and the Luna Park Cafe. Visitors can enjoy the local sights and food before visiting the shop and watching the artists at work.
Located in downtown Seattle, Glassybaby has a store and hot shop that is open 7 days a week. Visitors can pursue the available products or watch the glassblowers in the studio through a large window from either inside or outside of the store.
Glassybaby also has a Madrona hot shop, also located in Seattle, where guests can watch the glassblowers through a large window wall within the store. Both the downtown Seattle hot shop and the Madrona hot shop are open 7 days a week and visitors can view the glassblowing process at any time for as long as they like.
Glassybaby has two glass-blowing studios in Seattle and a separate production shop and office in Redmond. They have recently opened a hot shop in Livingston, Montana. Their Seattle locations are part store, part viewing area for guests to watch the art of glassblowing. They also have event spaces for those interested in private events.
5. Fremont Antique Glass Company
Located in the charming Fremont neighborhood, the Fremont Antique Glass Company focuses on the practice of traditional antique mouth-blown glass. Their studio antique sheet glass using methods that are over 1000 years old. Each sheet takes 2 days to complete, with approximately 14 sheets of glass made per day.
Those interested in visiting the warehouse for shopping or to view glass production are welcome to visit as long as an appointment is made ahead of time. Appointments can be booked by contacting the Fremont Antique Glass Company via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Fremont Antique Glass Company has been making mouth-blown sheet glass since 1980. Each sheet of glass is made with care by local artists. They have a variety of glass products available for purchase in many colors. Their antique sheet glass can be bought locally by visiting their warehouse or by ordering online.
6. Chihuly Garden and Glass
In addition to its renowned museum and its curated bar and restaurant, Chihuly Garden and Glass also regularly offers glass-blowing demonstrations. Visitors can watch local glass blowers in the museum’s hotshop every day. The scheduled demonstration times are 11:15 AM, 12:15 PM, 1:15 PM, 2:15 PM, 3:15 PM, and 4:15 PM.
The Chihuly Garden and Glass hotshop utilizes a retrofitted 1967 Airstream as its studio. Inside, a team of local artists shape molten glass from a 2175-degree furnace. After every demonstration, a question and answer session opens up for visitors curious about the specifics of the glass-blowing process.
Opened in 2012, Chihuly Garden and Glass has been a staple of Seattle’s tourism alongside MOPOP and the Space Needle. The exhibition consists of eight galleries, an outdoor garden, a small theater, a bar and restaurant, and the famous glasshouse, which features a 100-foot-long glass sculpture. The artist behind it all, Dale Chihuly, is a Washington local himself and has been refining his avant-garde style of glass-blowing since 1968.