Dallas Glass

2005-12-03 Rev: 2006-11-11, 2009-02-13

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Spiral Glass
 On a brilliant warm Saturday that set high temp records for the day, I wandered off by bike and bus to two open houses for relocated studios.  MarrsArt and SpiralGlass had separated out of the old Hickory Street studio that had operated under at least a couple of names.  SpiralGlass went only a few blocks while MarrsArt moved to the northwest corner of Dallas County nearer the father and son team's homes.  While Dallas has a pretty good bus system, on Saturday it is weaker and getting some places requires either long rides with long waits between buses or adjusting timing to make for shorter rides and shorter waits, which is what I did.
  Arriving a bit early, I had a very good meal at Michael's Restaurant, just up the access road at I-35 a mile east of the studio.
  MarrsArt is the operation of Ron and Chris Marrs, father and son.  The building is on Valley View west of I-35 in the northwest Dallas county city of Farmer's Branch.  There is an impressive amount of space available.  The building is owned by a former co-worker of the elder Marrs who happened to be looking for a tenant for the higher after portion while using the front for his own business.  [moved since visit. 2009-02-13]
MarrsArt direction sign with building in back MarrsArt occupies back portion of building with gallery area to right
 Ron told me that the building had been occupied by a company that used the rear to build prototypes of pizza ovens, etc., which were demonstrated in a show room with offices in the front, so it has lots of power and gas.   The space is equipped with a pair of swamp coolers that have to be replumbed (left). (Click on pictures to enlarge.) The ventilation hoods of the demo room were moved to the back over the hot wall (center) The glory hole, furnace and pipe heater were moved from the Hickory Street site while the 4" OD smaller gloryhole (with thicker insulation so much smaller inside) is under construction.  A full garage door off left gives access.  The hanging lights and skylights give the space a bright feel  The gallery is off right.
[Click on each image section to enlarge]
MarrsArt Studio left end of panoramaMarrsArt Studio Hot Wall center of panoramaMarrsArt Studio, right end of panorama
A supply of color bars is stored convenient to the cut off saw.  Chunks of color are preheated in a kiln with the colors marked out on a whiteboard above (a common arrangement because various dense colors are so dark as to cause confusion.)  Frit is in bins at the other end of the blowing floor.

MarrsArt color holding frame and ceramic chop saw

MarrsArt kiln with layout chart of color inside on white board above
Gallery space is located inside the public entrance to the building (of course) at the right end of the outside shot above.  The gallery runs almost the full width of the building with a space for small shop tools (and food for the open house!) along the back wall.
MarrsArt gallery of rondels MarrsArt display of pieces in gallery
One of the design items is the fairly common rondel sold individually as on the wall above, but also sold in arrangements as the one on a custom powder coated grid (credit to powder coating company to left)  As can be seen in the side shot, a large clear foot/cookie is applied to give a good connection for hanging.  The hook is a standard item sold for the grid, but also powder coated to match.  I assume that installations normally use a less intrusive wire.
MarrsArt temporary display of rondels on grid MarrsArt temporary display of rondels mounting method


SpiralGlass www.spiralglassinc.com is the operation of Rees Bowen at 3500 Commerce in Dallas in the area between Deep Ellum and Fair Park.  If you go out the long straight section of Commerce from downtown, you can see it ahead of you but getting there is a bit awkward because of what the city has done with the streets.  The building is very long running through the block.  It is about 8 blocks from Fair Park and 4 from the old Hickory Street studio site.
Spiral Glass front entry Spiral Glass building
Inside the front door is a generous bright and well lit Firehuas gallery with pieces displayed against the frosted window as well as various shelves on the walls.  The entrance to the studio is through the small door in the center of the center picture below.
Spiral Glass Firehaus gallery space
Spiral Glass Firehaus gallery front wall and window
The studio has considerable extra available space (behind the camera in this view) and is laid out along one wall in this panorama  The equipment is newly built, it seems, and the ribbon burner glory hole was having trouble keeping hot with the doors partly open.  For the demo, two glory holes were lighted, hardly a common practice, the pieces of equipment from right below are small glory hole, annealer, furnace and large glory hole.  There are two nice benches (right and center rear) and a couple of marvers (but the double image in the foreground is due to camera angle changes in making the panorama.)  The space is not as bright as the image suggests, lighted by half a dozen single 8' fluorescent fixtures without reflectors.  Some suggestion of the contrast is the brightness of the glare from the skylight center rear and this is late afternoon (5pm) December lighting with the sun shining low on the front of the building.

Spiral Glass hot shop panorama


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