The Benicia Arsenal Artist community invites you to tour their December Open Studios. Meet the artists and see their work environment in buildings dating from 1850s-1920s. All studios are within walking distance. Admission and parking are free.
“You stare mesmerized by the scene before you. A glass blower and his assistant dance with fire and a blowpipe with molten glass stuck on the end of it. You feel the blistering heat of the 2000-degree roaring furnace and see the sweat dripping off of the faces of the glass blowers. All of a sudden the blob on the blowpipe flares into a vase. After 20 minutes of intense labor, the glass artist knocks the piece gently off of the pipe and into the waiting assistant's gloved hands. As he carefully places the vase into the annealing oven, you can't help yourself. You burst into applause! Wow, what an experience! ”
– Ann Lindsay in Inside Benicia, December 2009
Come witness first-hand the astonishing process of turning molten glass into exquisite works of art by masters who practice the old-world art form of glass blowing. The glass artists of Benicia create bowls, stemware, vases, paperweights, coasters, lamps, clock cases and other types of one-of-kind corporate awards, among other stunning collectibles.
You can see the glass art (and often the glass-blowing process) on display at any of Benicia's internationally acclaimed glass studios:
Each art glass studio is recognized for its own distinctive style of hand-blown glass. Smyers is known for its designs of functional glassware. Nourot's work is famous for its intense red color. Lindsay produces unique paperweights and vessels.
But that's just part of the story. They all create custom lighting designs and will work with you to craft just the right piece. These are items that could easily become your next family heirloom.
Twice a year - the first weekend in May and the first week in December – the glass studios host open houses, where the public is invited to view the glass blowers at work on their special creations. But you can often just drop by the studios and catch the masters at work.
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