They have to get the fire scorching to create super-cool things — and it works so well that Melissa Wallick, client relations specialist and apprentice at Fireworks Glass Studios in Williamston, has a “feeling of awe that they can take hot honey syrup and can create amazing stuff. The glass blowers are incredible, and the team has an infectious enthusiasm.”
Oddly hidden in plain sight is a welcoming place where the art of glass blowing is shared freely for whomever ventures inside. Scheduled tours are encouraged, where one can see a demonstration, speak to the artists directly, take pictures and learn about the magical mystical art of glass blowing, all while near a furnace that heats up to 2,000 degrees.
It’s not until you see the making of a piece that you realize just how intricate, delicate and festive a piece of blown glass art is.
“It’s mental and physical. You need body and core strength to create a piece that challenges you fully,” said Rhonda Baker, lead glassblower.
You also need to be able to handle the heat. On an average production day, it can be 90 degrees in the facility. During the summertime, it can be over 120 degrees.
Doug Waggott has been volunteering at Fireworks for seven years. He spoke about the advantage of going big beyond torch glass blowing: “You don’t get to express yourself as well in a small medium. I’ve been watching glass-blowing artists work for seven years. You realize it’s a craft. You get glassy-eyed. You also realize it is one of the most challenging things you can do. Stay hydrated.”
Often people wander into the gallery not knowing that it existed. They have an opportunity to watch the waltz that the artists do when they create their pieces. It is a team effort. As potential customers see the endless possibilities of the power of glass, they’ll come back with ideas for a one-of-a-kind piece.
“Then a customer has a story to tell when they give a gift. The story is the bonus,” Waggott said.
According to Baker, when you visit Fireworks Glass Studios in Williamston, you soon see “it’s not just a gallery; it’s an experience.”