[gallery link="none" columns="1" size="full" ids="176733,176734,176735"] North Carolina Glass Center Asheville “Watching glass get blown is mesmerizing,” says Candace Reilly, executive director of the North Carolina Glass Center, an incubator for
North Carolina Glass Center
“Watching glass get blown is mesmerizing,” says Candace Reilly, executive director of the North Carolina Glass Center, an incubator for emerging glass artists in Asheville’s River Arts District. “It’s a rare thing to see the process of dipping hot glass into fire and bringing it out and molding it.” When the process is complete, blown-glass works such as patterned vases and cups are ready for display in the center’s gallery.
Built by Episcopalian priest Father Faulton Hodge in 2000, the Glass Chapel — located on a colonial-era farm in Rutherfordton — was purchased and renovated by husband and wife Steve and Laura Duncan in 2021. Used for community events, the chapel features glass walls that frame the forest just beyond the panes. “When you walk into the chapel,” Laura says, “there’s this immediate feeling of peacefulness that comes from feeling like you are in nature.”
Visitors to Starworks — which aims to improve access to the arts in rural Montgomery County — can watch glass, ceramics, and metalwork artists in action. Above, former resident artist Jennifer Crescuillo creates a unicorn horn by twisting molten glass. Sculptures, ornaments, decor, and other delicate pieces by Starworks artists are displayed in the on-site gallery.
When diners walk into Vidrio in downtown Raleigh — a restaurant whose name means “glass” in Spanish — their eyes are immediately drawn to a two-story wall of glass plates. The more than 700 unique pieces were handblown by artist Doug Frates in a variety of shapes, sizes, and patterns. Each one catches the light and sparkles, brightening the dining room as families and friends share meals beneath them.
Penland School of Craft
“Glass is a material full of potential,” says Nick Fruin, glass studio coordinator at Penland School of Craft, which offers workshops and residencies in crafts, including glassmaking. “There are so many different ways to use it to make an object and express an idea. It has transparency; it has opacity; it’s fragile; it’s strong; it’s hot. It overwhelms the senses while you’re working with it.”
The Cathedral of All Souls
Beginning in 1898, glass artist D. Maitland Armstrong and his daughter, Helen, a children’s book illustrator, created opalescent glass windows for The Cathedral of All Souls in Biltmore Village. George Vanderbilt commissioned the windows as memorials over the course of 16 years, until his death in 1914, leaving three remaining windows with clear glass. For the cathedral’s centennial celebration in 1996, the final three windows were commissioned and created, matching the Armstrong windows in style.
Searching for Sea Glass
Off our coast, shards of glass — often from shipwrecks that occurred decades or centuries ago — are churned by the ocean, their edges smoothed by the currents and the surf, their composition chemically changed by caustic waters. Collectors of these gifts from the sea scour the shore, looking for brightly colored pieces whose surfaces are touched with a frosted finish.
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church
Envisioned by parishioner Harriet Hill and designed by Raleigh artist Pat Stumpf, the windows of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church tell the story of the liturgical year, beginning with Advent and ending with the Feast of Christ the King. Light filters through symbols honoring Jesus, who called himself the light of the world.
Hot Glass Alley
After surviving a rare childhood cancer with a terminal diagnosis, Jake Pfeifer decided never to take life for granted. As the owner and lead artist of Hot Glass Alley, he’s applied that point of view to glasswork, putting everything he has into his art. Pfeifer looked at seven cities on the East Coast before deciding that Charlotte — with its museums, art schools, and population of glass artists — was the perfect place to open his studio and gallery.
Looking Glass Rock
In Pisgah National Forest, the frigid waters of Looking Glass Falls cascade 60 feet into a pool below. The waterfall takes its name from Looking Glass Rock, just a few miles away. The 3,969-foot mountain is so named because when its sheer face is frozen over, it reflects the sun like a mirror. Seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway on a cold winter day, light plays upon the surface, glistening on ice that’s crystal clear.
This story was published on Nov 21, 2023