Class Experiences FAQ
Welcome to the Glass Academy. Below you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about our class experiences, the studio, and various shows and events. If you can’t find the answer to your question, call our office at 313-561-4527.
**2021 COVID-19 Update: Glass Academy classes are resuming on a smaller scale and limited basis. We have reduced our class sizes and continue to practice safety measures such as wearing masks, social distancing within the studio, and shipping finished class items directly to your home. If you have any questions about our protocols, please feel free to contact the studio directly.
What should I wear to the studio?
2021 COVID-19 Notice: Masks are currently required in the studio.
- Closed-toe shoes are required. If you wear open-toe shoes, you will NOT be allowed to participate.
- Do not wear flowing clothing, such as long skirts or shirts with bell sleeves, as these can catch on tools and equipment.
- Cotton clothing (or other natural fibers) are recommended; synthetic materials become quite uncomfortable due to the heat of the furnaces.
- Our hot shop and gallery are in a warehouse, so keep in mind that the temperature outside is reflected inside—cold in the winter, warm in the summer—and dress accordingly. We suggest wearing layers, including a sweater or light jacket, to classes during the winter months. In summer, shorts are ok.
What should I bring to class?
- An open mind and sense of adventure!
- Water, tea, or sports drinks; please stay hydrated—especially during the summer.
- Optional: a camera or phone to capture your experience.
What are your refund and cancellation policies?
- There are no class refunds once purchased.
- You can reschedule your class up to 48 hours before the start time, for a $10 rescheduling fee per class.
- In the case of low enrollment, we reserve the right to cancel any experience up to 48 hours prior to the date of the experience. We will move you into another class without the rescheduling fee.
- If you cancel with less than 48 hour’s notice, you will not receive a refund or the opportunity to reschedule. We suggest giving the class to a friend as a gift or making another item if it was someone in your group who could not attend.
- If you arrive more than 30 minutes late, you will forfeit your class experience since this is the time we do the safety demo which is necessary to do the class.
- We reserve the right to cancel any experience due to poor weather conditions, equipment failure, power outage, or other natural disaster (such as COVID-19). Customers will be rescheduled at no additional cost. Please call the studio or check the website and/or our Facebook page for the most current updates. There will be a voicemail message on our phone and a post on social media if an experience has been canceled or we are closed.
Is your studio handicap accessible?
The glassblowing bench, where all of the work will take place, cannot accommodate wheelchairs or motorized scooters. If you have a cast, a sling, or other healing device, it would be best to come back when you’re fully healed for your safety and that of those around you. If you have a disability, give us a call and we’ll do our best to accommodate you within our safety requirements.
Note: we do not allow pets in the studio, unless they’re service animals.
Do you have tools for smaller hands or left handers?
We would love for everyone to get the chance to experience the wonder of working with molten glass, so we do our best to provide an overall experience, but some things just don’t translate easily! Our studio benches are set up for people who are right-handed, and the tools only come in one size, a result of this being a male-dominated craft. We know this is a concern, but rest assured, we’ll do our best to make it work for you!
An interesting side note: Chris Nordin, one of the studio’s founders, is actually left handed. The Italian master who trained him refused to work with someone who didn’t work the glass with their right hand. It took weeks for Chris to adjust to blow right handed, but in the end it paid off and he can make anything with ease now right handed!
What is the minimum age for participating in classes?
We do not accept participants younger than 16 for safety and insurance reasons. Participants aged 16 and 17 must turn in a signed parental consent form and have a guardian present during the experience.
How many students are in a class? What is the experience like?
We design all of our classes specifically with the student in mind. Each class will have between 4 and 8 students, depending on the project’s complexity. The best way to learn glassblowing is by watching and then doing it yourself. Our classes are small enough that students can watch and learn from each other, without having to wait too long for their turn.
Take 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! You’ll also get a tour of the studio along with a 20% discount coupon (valid on the day of your class) that you can use on anything in the gallery. We highly suggest taking advantage of this opportunity to discover, admire, and purchase beautiful products in our gallery for gifts, special occasions, and keepsakes.
On the day of your experience, if we have any open slots available, you will have the option to make additional projects at a 50% discount rate. Your instructor will let you know if this option is available for you during your class or you can ask at checkin.
What colors are used for the classes?
We base our color choices on the season and rotate them on a regular basis. The glassblowing instructors will be sure to guide you on the perfect color combinations for your project.
Will I be able to bring my piece home with me?
Your project will need 24–48 hours to cool to room temperature, so you will not be able to take your item home immediately after class. We will ship your glass project directly to your home during the week following your class.
Can I request a specific instructor?
No, unfortunately not. There is no guarantee that a specific instructor will be available for your class or event but know that each of our instructors bring a level of fun and excitement to each class they teach.
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 or create intricate pieces. Our experiences are fun and exciting, and you will learn a great deal. However, keep in mind that we offer only entry-level classes.
We invite you to watch our live glassblowing feeds on our YouTube channel or attend a seasonal show where our glassblowing masters do all the fancy techniques and special tricks. Those shows happen seven times a year; visit the homepage to find the date of the next seasonal show.
Glassblowing is a difficult art form and takes a lifetime to learn. If you truly want the intensive instruction that will enable you to make glassblowing your hobby or career, we suggest enrolling in an accredited college that teaches glassblowing (such as the College for Creative Studies in Detroit) or finding a studio that can take you on as an apprentice.
Will I shape the whole item or will the instructor 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. Our student-to-teacher work ratio on each piece is an ideal balance forged by trial and error over the years. If you tell the instructor you want to experience more shaping they will let you do it—just ask!