Things you might want to know about the Glass Academy and our studio.
Welcome to The Glass Academy. We get a lot of questions about our experiences, the studio and various shows and events. Below you will find answers to our most frequently asked questions. If you have a question you don’t find covered in the questions below, call our office at 313-561-4527 and ask us!
- If a refund of a scheduled class is requested, there will be a 20% restocking fee
- If you have to cancel your experience less than 24 hours prior to your date and time, there will be no refund or rescheduling, as we have already incurred staffing and material expenses at this point.
- If you call 24 hours or more before your scheduled experience you will be able to reschedule your experience for a $10 rescheduling fee for each class.
- If you arrive more than 30 minutes past your scheduled experience time, you will forfeit your experience. This is because you will have missed the demonstration for the product you would have been making and this will put our schedule behind.
- Participants aged 16-17 must turn in a signed parental consent form and have a guardian present during the experience. We do not accept participants under 16 years of age for safety reasons.
- We reserve the right to reschedule an experience up to 24 hours prior to the class date, if enrollment is low. You will receive a phone call to alert you if this is the case and we will reschedule your experience at no cost to you.
- All participants MUST adhere to our What To Wear Guidelines: We would love for everyone to get the chance to experience the wonder of working hands on with molten glass. Please note our benches are set up for people who are right handed and the tools come in one size and may be too large for those of us who have smaller hands. We’ll do our best to make it work for you! Note: the glass blowing bench will not accommodate wheelchairs, motorized scooters, and if you have a cast on, it would be best to come back when you’re fully healed.
What To Wear
Cotton clothing is recommended; natural fibers are best as anything synthetic becomes quite uncomfortable due to the heat of the furnaces. Regular jeans are okay, but we advise against tight jeans.Do not wear flowing clothing such as long skirts or bell sleeves, as these could catch fire. Closed-toe shoes are required. If you wear open-toe shoes, you WILL NOT be allowed to participate. Our hot shop and gallery are in a warehouse; keep in mind that the temperature outside is reflected inside, and dress accordingly.
What to bring:
- An open mind and a sense of adventure!
- Water, tea, or sports drinks; please keep hydrated, the furnaces get hot!! (Water is provided)
- A camera or phone to capture you experience (optional)
You will go home with a great experience!!
Remember, your project will need 24-48 hours to cool. Glass can take up to 48 hours to come down to room temperature, because cooling too quickly will cause it to crack or even shatter, so you will not be able to take your item home on the night of your class. If you are making a Percolla Reed, Mantello Hook,or Vintappo Wine Stopper the wait time is ONE WEEK after your class experience. With these projects there are extra steps to grind and add the metal piece to the project. Pick-up will be available during our studio hours, which are: Wednesday – Friday 11am to 7pm and Saturday 10am to 4pm. Shipping is also available for a flat rate of $25 (multiple items may be shipped in the same box). See you soon!
What colors are used for the classes?
We base our color choices on the season. We rotate colors on a regular bases. The glassblowing instructors choose the colors for the evening. Sometimes the colors students put together just don’t come out looking the best so we'll be sure to guide you on the perfect color combinations for your project. Rest assured, you will take home a piece that is color coordinated and beautiful! :)
How do you decide how many students in a class?
The best way to learn glassblowing is by watching then doing it yourself. That is how all of us learned our craft. There is no manual, video, or tutorial that can teach you more than you can learn by simply watching others work, observing their techniques and seeing how the molten glass behaves.
We'll keep you busy throughout the night by adding in a tour of the studio, offering the Big Bubble Blow, and also a discount of 20% on any of our gallery items, and even some snacks to nibble on!
Take advantage of the opportunity to mingle with your classmates and consider trading picture taking duties during the experience. It’s a perfect chance to make new friends!
If I am in the class can I make another item or do the Big Bubble Blow?
We acknowledge you might want two items since they are so cool, the timing might be perfect to do so! Check with your host for the day, if the class isn't 100% fill, you’re welcome to sign up, pay a reduced fee, and make another item.
Or, take some time to experiment with the Big Bubble Blow process; we always have the time to sign you up for that. Blow the bubble small and perfectly round, or try to make it a grapefruit size or as big as you can! Remember, we are seasoned professionals, we make it look easy, but when you get the molten glass on the pipe anything can happen! It’s our job to make glassblowing fun for you and we're sure you'll have enjoy the process.
Can you make a more intricate piece during the class?
We do all the fancy techniques and special tricks at our seasonal shows when the masters are at the bench. Those shows happen 7 times a year, visit the home page to find out when the next seasonal show is.
Do you teach people how to be glassblowers or learn this craft as a hobby?
We call our classes "experiences", because we give you the opportunity to work with hot molten glass, but we do not teach you to become a glassblower. We want to provide the opportunity to discover, admire, and purchase beautiful products in our gallery for gifts, special occasions, and keepsakes. To host events and workshops for team building, and instill a love of this handcrafted Art in all those who cross our path. If you are interested in more than this, we suggest enrolling in an accredited college that teaches the fine arts or find a studio who can take you on as an apprentice. Glassblowing is a very difficult artistic art form and takes a lifetime to learn.
Do you have tools for smaller hands or left-handers?
One of the original founders of the studio is actually left-handed. While getting his training by an Italian Master, this particular Master said to him that he would not work with someone who didn’t work the glass with his right hands. It took weeks for Chris to adjust to blow right handed but in the end it paid off. The benches, tools, and shop layout is developed for people working with their right hands.
As for smaller tools, it’s a male dominated craft and the toolmakers are generally men. I’ve adapted to the tools just fine over the years and, as a female, I have smaller hands. Take a chance, maybe you have advantages with small hands to create something really awesome, or you might find a new way of working the tool that’s even better!!
Will I shape the whole item or will the teacher do it?
Our instructors are trained to assist you in the creation of your glass item, and to recognize how to assist you. We’ve discovered if we let the student do more, sometimes the results are not the best. It’s simply a matter of skill level, and our ultimate goal is to help you create something you LOVE and are thrilled with. Our student-to-teacher work ratio on each piece is an ideal balance forged by trial and error over the years. If you let the instructor know you want to experience more shaping they will let you do it. Just ask! Or take the Big Bubble Blow challenge! Instead of blowing the bubble large and crazy, they will challenge you to blow a small perfect one. Not so easy!!
How should I dress?
Our building is a warehouse, and it naturally gets cold in the winter, and warm in the summer. We suggest bringing a sweater or light jacket to classes during the winter months, and have layers to work with. Summer months, shorts are ok and plan on drinking plenty of water.
Can we ask the instructor to turn off the radio? It was difficult to hear him.
Absolutely. Some times the music is great, but by all means speak up if you can’t hear them. We’ll be happy to adjust the volume and/or just turn it right off.
You will also receive a 20% discount coupon that you can use on anything in the gallery! This coupon is valid on the night of your experience, but also the day that you return to pick up your creation.
These experiences are fun and exciting, and you will learn a great deal. We are not, however, here to teach you to become a glass blower. If you truly want the intensive instruction that will enable you to make glass blowing your hobby or career, we suggest finding an apprenticeship or attending an arts school that offers a glass program. (such as the College for Creative Studies in Detroit)