Make Something Special at the McFadden Glass Studio

Brian glassblowing with a McFadden resident artist

Last December, I gathered with several of my colleagues for a “morale-building activity” at McFadden Glass Studio in Baltimore. Glassblowing as a group activity is both a fun and educational experience, guided by a skilled resident glass artist. You’ll gather in a studio with several furnaces with molten glass. During the activity, everyone has the opportunity to create individual pieces such as vases, ornaments or cups. I really enjoyed learning about my colleagues — what their favorite colors are, what they wanted to make…

You get to pick the object and shape as well as primary and secondary colors and design. You’ll also be handling the poles with molten glass at the end — at first it seems a little scary. But it’s also really fun to see how a cup or vase or ornament is made! It’s a hands-on process. You’ll heat the glass until it becomes malleable, and then using tools and breath to shape it into a desired form. Periodically, you’ll re-heat it.

Throughout the process, you’ll work with a McFadden Art Studio resident glass artist who will help you shape and stabilize your object’dart. They guide you through each step of what you want to make. At each step, they’ll explain each task and what it does, from adding color to the initial blob of molten glass to adding in secondary color and design.

Along the way, you’ll get to learn a unique craft as well as cheer on your team members as they create their own little masterpieces. You’ll feel comfortable and well coached along the way so don’t be nervous. I found it really interesting how the colors heated were not the same as when cool. I know there’s chemical and physics reasons for this. It still seems like magic.

The activity leader will step you through everything you need to know about safety during the glassblowing. In fact, safety is a key aspect, with all participants typically required to wear heat-resistant gloves, eye protection, and other safety gear. Overall, we learned that glassblowing is a fun blend of art, science and teamwork.

We found that everyone there was really kind and helpful — and we had a blast! This was a really fun afternoon!

Know Before You Go

There is ample off-street parking at McFadden Glass Studio. Your one-of-a-kind piece will be available 48 hours after the workshop for pick-up or can be shipped to the participant in a week or so for an additional fee. Glassblowing projects range from $25-$70.

Getting there: 6802 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD
Hours: Make your own activities are available by reservation only Tuesday – Saturday from 10:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Reservations are available for morning sessions upon request.
Website: McFadden Glass