(credit: Laurie Jo Miller Farr)
You can’t touch Venice as the glass blowing capital of the world and New York State’s Corning Glass Museum is 2,750 miles east. So, here are a few places where you can find what the San Francisco Bay Area can offer to those who are keen on the art and design of handcrafted glass. It makes a for a unique experience, so why not learn the basics and take home a handmade piece of your own?
2690 Union St.
Oakland, CA 94607
A 500-pound furnace occupies a 2,300-square-foot facility where Oakland-based instructor and artist, Bryan Goldenberg, designed and built his own glass blowing studio. Goldenberg trained with Venetian artists in Murano and obtained a fine arts degree as a glass blower from the California College of Arts and Crafts. His finished pieces are on display and for sale in museums and galleries around the US. Goldenberg invites members of the public to come for a glass blowing demonstration or register to learn the craft themselves. For those already considered a pro, who require a place to practice the craft, studio hire is available.
Walker & Bowes
Stanford Shopping Center
660 Stanford Shopping Center
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Created in a San Jose studio by a husband-and-wife team, Walker & Bowes collectibles are colorful hand-blown collectibles, ideal for table decorations and gifts. They’re crafted in the shape of pumpkins, pears, apples, grapes, leaves, shells and more and spill out in a cornucopia of colors at a monthly pop-up shop at the Stanford Shopping Center during each fourth weekend. Extended displays take place leading up to Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. These hand-blown glass pumpkins are a specialty; they’re one-of-a-kind and they’re smashing.
1750 Armstrong Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94124
Visit a glass-blowing studio and gallery located in Bayview, one block from the Muni T-line, with free parking on site as well. It’s all about glass making at the home of this nonprofit arts organization. See live glass blowing demos, rotating gallery displays, book a team building event, rent a kiln and studio or take a class from 3-hour introduction to a 60-hour immersion course. Public Glass recommends contacting them in advance of your visit to be certain the studio is open. Note the holiday pop-up shop at 2277 Union St., San Francisco, for seven weeks during the holiday season.
Burlingame, CA 94010
The family-operated business began with local potters creating ceramics in the late 1960s. The collection in Oakland grew to encompass blown and stained glass, wood turnings, jewelry boxes, fountains, chimes, art jewelry, books and cards, a variety of lamps, wall art, metal items and gifts. Now in a 5,000-square -foot location in the Oakland Hills and a second, founded in 1996, in Burlingame, the business represents one of Northern California’s largest collection of artwork, specializing in functional and decorative blown glass items. Visit either gallery, open daily except Mondays.
12341 San Mateo Road
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Pumpkins as art is the essence of Half Moon Bay. Make it yourself and take it home afterwards. Your own mini pumpkin is two inches tall, or you can make a larger four inch one — after all, Half Moon Bay is the giant pumpkin capital of the world. Beginners can also opt for making a heart- or starfish-shaped paperweight, or a memory ball to store and display something precious (coins, baby’s first tooth, sand from a favorite beach). Intermediate level projects include multi-colored glass tumblers or a jellyfish lamp. Group activities are also available for ages 12 and up. See samples of finished projects on the Facebook page and contact Doug to discuss your party plans.