Studio Housing
& Buildings

2005-08-13 Rev. 2006-11-13, 2009-02-12, 2012-10-03

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Glassblowing studios are housed in such a great variety of spaces that it is almost redundant to show the choices people have made, but a few lessons can be learned by looking at what is out there and commenting.  In many cases, the important choices are those made on the inside with the Hot Walls to compensate for or live with the building design.

Perhaps the most important statement to make is that the structure should be fire resistant and the overhead girders or joists should be metal, not wood.  Although it may be possible to build a studio in a wood joist place with sufficient ventilation, especially with high ceilings and a good hood structure, if hot, dry air does collect, it will suck moisture out of the wood, so that it is tinder dry and ready to burst into flame.  One college with a tarred roof overhead got enough heat at the ceiling to drip tar down onto the floor.

The second consideration is that I would never put the elements of a studio in a house, whether in a connected back area or in a garage.  There are studios in wooden commercial structures with a lot of safety features, but it seems unlikely that most  people who put a studio in a house are ready to spend the money for all the safety features needed.  This added to the drying effect mentioned previously and that most houses are wood and the risk seems too high.  In addition to fire danger, I would point to the risk from carbon monoxide from a badly set or clogged burner, leaking gas, and improper shut down during a power failure.

Vetro Art Glass, Grapevine TX
The building was an open, wall-less structure (like the space just to the left) farmer's market structure that was first enclosed then improved with the siding shown. Behind the windows and doors shown (see below) is the gallery that shows glass made here and elsewhere.  The glassblowing studio is behind that in this view. visit
Vetro Art Glass exterior
Bowman Art Glass, Dallas TX
The building is a large U around a parking/court area that once was a garage repair business, but now houses several artist's studios. In an old neighborhood across the expressway from downtown.  Bowman occupies a bit less than half the back and all of the right arm.  The balcony is a feature of the location on both ends. visit
Studio Paran, Madison WI, 2005
Small industrial cinderblock building, original purpose unknown. Strongly styled entry. Interior very compact, two story storage, production studio, lobby type showroom (panorama montage of flat front, edited) visit
.Paran Studio, Madison WI, panorama edit to show features.
Divas Studio Exterior 1995Divas was two women with previous cold glass experience. The studio was housed in an old building on a closed airport/industrial park next to the machine shop of the husband of one of them. Two large doors facing east aided cooling. Blowing floor behind right hand big door, office & gallery shelves through normal door at right, more elaborate cold shop than you might expect behind wall at far right.  A gathering place for many local glassblowers at the time, before other studios sprang up and health problems intervened 2006-11-14
Wimberley Glassworks has now moved to a new site and I don't know what their new buildings look like, but for more than half a dozen years they used this pair.  The one on the right (and on the right at the site) is the gallery and sales shop while the studio is on the left.  The normal sized door in the studio leads to the seating for visitors and the whole back half of the building is hot shop.  The large door to left is for delivery of batch, etc., and has the cold working machines.texas98.htm#Wimberley 2006-11-13
Outside of Wimberley Glass Works Wimberly Studio gallery
Fire Island Glass, Austin TX, 1975 (closed)
One of several identical small warehouse buildings in small industrial park on east side of town, some with bigger storage buildings behind.  Studio at far end, storage and shipping in middle, office and showroom at front. Floor plan since closed
Art Allison's building is located beside the road north of Pottsboro Texas, where he built it all.  It has a dirt floor, a choice he says he regrets when wind blown rain gets in and makes it slippery.  A similar building, fully enclosed with windows on the front is the gallery and is located about 200 feet to the left along the driveway/parking area.  Sliding doors give 4 way ventilation in the Texas heat and note big slot at eaves on sides. 2006-11-13
Allison Glassworks building side view with propane tank
Allison Glassworks, Pottsboro TX, front entrance
Chicago Art Glass is a public access studio located west of downtown in an older building with windows now bricked up and in a moderately declining neighborhood.  The flower pots and sidewalk decorations are both used glass melting pots. Chicago Art Glass building and entrance
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, 1994-12
The studio is sort of a large loading dock off the back of another building. The narrow corrugated panels are large roll up doors that open the entire wall in hot humid New Orleans.  The other wall (off to left) is full height glass brick. The hot "wall" is centrally located to the left of the near door under a suspended vent. view 2008-12-03
White Pine Art Glass in west central Minnesota.  Sheet metal farm style building with sliding door for ventilation. Purpose built for glass work on land partly bought for this purpose.  Nice garden with glass in fountain also lots of glass in woods off to right.  Drive provides space for parking during open house.  Way rural with a couple of hundred acres rented to local farmers. White Pine Art Glass building on farm land in upper mid Minnesota
These two properties represent extremes of urban industrial building adaptation - old & new.
Spiral Glass building
Spiral Glass (above) is an old, old firehouse not far from Fair Park on the edge of downtown Dallas.  The space is long and thin with gallery at the front and hot shop behind. visit & interior [closed since]
MarrsArt occupies back portion of building with gallery area to right
 MarrsArt is in a modern industrial park in a suburb in the northwest corner of Dallas county. They found the building by knowing the person who owns it who only wanted to use the front office and display space. The hot shop and gallery occupy the right half of the building. visit & interior [Moved since]
Starfish Glassworks in Victoria BC looks like it was a bank building, having been completely gutted inside, there are no obvious clues. The building is on a corner in a vigorous downtown area, the main drag running to the left of this shot.  The images of the inside are here 630 Yates St., Victoria, BC [now a museum downtown branch serving food. Email reply from museum reports it was built as a branch of the Bank of Toronto. 2009-02-12]
The University of Texas at Arlington houses their hot glass studio in a newly built complex of arts studios around a court yard that is used to show student art with a gallery for indoor art in the peak roofed section. I visited on a rainy dreary day.  The top row in the image is the courtyard and fronts of most of the studios - clay, metal, fabric, print, etc.  The lower row has the views left and right from the camera position showing loading access and a view of entry doors of studios for Glass (Hot & Warm) just to right rear of camera position. Interior of studio 2009-02-14
Panorama of UTA Arts Studios

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