While staying in St. Petersburg, FL, for the Tampa Bay Blues Fest, we were looking for something to do besides the Fest itself. We stumbled upon an ad offering a lesson in blowing glassware. This seemed interesting as most people never get to do this. We called Zen Glass Studio and spoke to Josh Poll, who told us cost per person for about an hour and we would learn the very basics of using a torch to blow the glass and walk away with something we had made.
The shop is located in the Warehouse Art District. When we arrived we were greeted by Josh’s pooches and then Josh himself. After filling out some paperwork, Josh showed us around the shop, including his gallery display area. Some of the pieces are shown above – really incredible work. Back out in the main area the atmosphere is relaxed with experienced artists and students doing their thing. Safety is stressed at all times though. We were thoroughly briefed on starting, using and shutting down the torches, as well as using tools to manipulate the glass. Before starting work, safety glasses were issued and are a must.
For whatever reason, we actually did more in one session than most folks do in 2 or three. We started the pieces, shaped, colored them (inside and out), and completed them. Considering that we had never done this before, that was quite an accomplishment and Josh was a huge help. It should be noted that Josh kept his sense of humor (and patience) even when we left his shaping tools in the flame a little too long, gently reminding us “Don’t melt my tools guys.”
The whole experience was awesome and we are looking forward to doing it again. In addition to learning something new, we had a great time and each walked away with something original that we made. I would recommend this to anyone looking for something different and gratifying. It is challenging enough to keep your interest but not so difficult as to seem impossible. Thanks again Josh.
Zen Glass Studio
600 27th Street South
St. Petersburg, FL
Classes Offered Include:
You can also see Zen Glass Studio pieces at:
Florida Craftsmen (Gallery)
501 Central Avenue
St. Petersburg, FL
Maggie Duffy is the gallery manager and an awesome lady!
(Originally published 5.19.2012)