Orange Beach Coastal Arts Center: Blown Glass Art
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WALA) – In a garage-like studio called “The Hot Shop” there’s a lot of artistic energy – where the art of glassblowing is alive and well at the Coastal Arts Center in Orange Beach.
“So there’s a bowl with glass at 2100 degrees – about the consistency of honey,” says Dan Rush, glass artist at the Coastal Arts Center in Orange Beach. “Glass is such a cool medium because it’s designed to work with light and color concept.”
Artists Dan Rush and Kerry Parks have been working with glass for over a decade.
“You know, I really fell in love with it and never stopped,” Kerry said.
From basic ornaments to ornate sculptures – many of their artworks are hung in the shop and displayed in the art gallery – such as the show’s LED chandelier.
Back in the studio, they work together to produce this fall’s crop of glass pumpkins, which come in every color combination you can imagine. Eventually, they’ll sell 300-400 this season.
Dan and Kerry walk us through the process.
“She’s going to roll it in this mint-colored glass pan called fritte.” She will put some layers on it,” Dan said.
As Kerry shapes and manipulates the hot glass, Dan blows more air into the pipe.
“People always ask how hard I blow – but I tell them like blowing bubbles in chocolate milk – but not that hard to get in trouble with your grandma at the restaurant,” Dan said.
A little more heat and a little more air: “She’s blowing hard enough — for it to expand…She’ll squeeze it out — it looks like a green pepper right now at more than a pumpkin shape,” Dan said.
It’s a process with a lot of “aha” moments.
“Honestly – we joke that – every morning is a bit like Christmas because we can pull out our work from the night before and see how it went. Because everything looks different when it’s warm – so when it comes out of the oven – that’s when you’re like ahhhhhh – okay – it worked,” Kerry explained.
The attention to detail and the experience of the two artists create something special when adding the finishing touches, including the rolled up pumpkin stalk before putting it in the oven.
“That’s how you make a pumpkin!” Come and look… Come and buy… Come visit us,” Dan said.
If that sounds like something you’d like to try, they have classes Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Visitors are also welcome to come and watch. For information Click here or call 251-981-2787.
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