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Blown Away

Glassblowing enjoys a renaissance



Hotspot Glass Studio owners Dylan Cotton and Chris DeMott begin the process of molding and shaping the molten glass into unique designs.

Douglas Foulke

Glassblowing may just be your new favorite hobby. It’s working with a molten mix of silica, sodium, and calcium that hardens into something delicate and breakable. You can add colors or twist and shape it into anything you want. There’s a little danger involved too, adding to the excitement of it. 

Last spring, Hotspot Glass Studio opened here in Fairfield next to Tazza Osteria. In a little over a year, owners Dylan Cotton and Chris DeMott have gained a successful following. They regularly offer Groupons for introductory classes and they have sessions for kids and adults. “I think people are starting to become more aware of glassblowing,” says DeMott. “Once people try it, they think it’s cool and get hooked.”  

DeMott and Cotton are “The Odd Couple” of glassblowing. DeMott comes to the art with a technical fastidiousness. Cotton’s linear thoughts get derailed in favor of whimsical playfulness. He even calls himself the “kooky one.” “We work really well together,” DeMott explains. “We can incorporate the wacky stuff in a technical style.” 

Joe Massari and his wife Michele got married at the end of March and have their own Hotspot memory. They wanted something different for their special day. Friends and family considered purchasing Champagne flutes. But after a quick web search, Joe found the Fairfield shop and the couple decided to make their own wedding glasses.

“We were there for three hours but it felt like 20 minutes,” Joe recalls. “Once they started, they really took off. Executed it perfectly—the shaping, the blowing, the stretching. This is something we will remember for the rest of our lives.”

Stefani Calvano and her husband used their Groupon last summer for date night. When Calvano’s father died in January, her husband suggested going to Hotspot to make an urn. DeMott and Cotton were thrilled to do something so meaningful. “It was a great experience for what we had to do,” she says. “They turned something ordinary into a piece of art.”

During the process of making the urn, they included some of the ashes in the glass. Calvano plans to incorporate some of the cremains into a few commemorative pieces to give to other family members. 

But there is more to glasswork than making a wine glass or two. Dorothy Hafner, an artist who has worked in several different mediums over the years, has a studio in South Norwalk. After taking an “art sabbatical” in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, she became fascinated by the extraordinary play of color and light in the water. She vowed to paint once she returned home only to find that painting just didn’t evoke the visual acuity she was looking for.

“I couldn’t get that same luminous color or transparency,” she says. “I got introduced to glassblowing, and it was love at first sight.”

Along the way, she discovered a different form of glasswork. She now fuses sheets of glass together in a collage to form two-dimensional installations. Fusing gives her an artistic medium to work with that allows for creative space. She can pause and reflect—something you can’t do with standard glassblowing. She offers one-day, three-day, and six-week fusing workshops.

Peter Greenwood, who owns a studio in Riverton near Barkhamsted, holds workshops for kids and adults. About ten years ago, he came across what was formerly the Hitchcock Chair Museum in an abandoned church. He jumped at the chance to have his own studio. He offers classes for every skill level, birthday parties, and team corporate events. You can even get just a 15-minute demonstration on glassblowing if you’re short on time. 

“The biggest challenge is working the glass but keeping it under control,” he says. “You have to move it constantly, keep it rotating so it doesn’t sag to the floor. It’s about eye/hand coordination.”

As far as he’s concerned, everybody should have the experience of stretching, pulling and cutting a hot piece of glass off a blowing pipe. 

Mickey Morris, the director at Buck’s Rock Creative and Performing Arts Camp in New Milford, holds summer sessions for kids aged nine to 17. They offer every artistic medium under the sun—from puppetry to Clown Improv to spelunking. One of the sessions that kids really enjoy is the glassblowing.

“We started offering glassblowing in the ’70s,” he says. “It’s open to any camper, and they can carry over other artistic mediums along the way. We’ve had some kids who have gone on to do it professionally.”

Young or not so young, you can find a glassblowing opportunity in almost every corner of Connecticut. The Brookfield Craft Center in Brookfield offers glassblowing workshops and Art Glass by Mathews in Branford also holds classes along with a unique commodity: a patented glass putter. Consider that the next time you need a gift for the avid golfer in your life. Who needs a wine glass when you can improve your game?


GLASS FROM THE PAST 

In the early days of glassblowing, the knowledge of the craft was highly coveted—handed down from glasssmith to apprentice. In the first century A.D., Phoenician glassworkers were forbidden from traveling but Venetian glassblowers had it the worst— leaving the island of Murano was a crime, punishable by death.​

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More information

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Website »

More information

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View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
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Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Where:
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More information

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Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
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Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
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More information

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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
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Contact Name: Scott Smith
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Where:
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
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View map »


Website »

More information

The Housatonic Museum of Art presents a new exhibition, “Drip Drop, Tick Tock” by regional artist, Joseph Fucigna. The show focuses on sculptures from the on-going Plastic Fencing...

Cost: Free

Where:
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900 Lafayette Blvd.
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View map »


Telephone: 120-333-25052
Contact Name: Robin Zella

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
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View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
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View map »


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Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Pequot Library
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Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Pequot Library
Website »

More information

ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, from September...

Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
Bruce Museum
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Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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A series of graphic novel-style panels designed by illustrator Kirk Manley tells the dramatic story of the spy ring that operated between New York City, Long Island, and Fairfield during the...

Cost: Members: Free; Adults: $5; Seniors & Students: $3; children 5 and under: Free.

Where:
Fairfield Museum
370 Beach Rd
Fairfield, CT  06824
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Website »

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  The hugely successful Connecticut's Got Talent is back. Dont miss the incredible talent as we audition LIVE on stage statewide talent from all genres. Sign up at WallStreetTheater.com The...

Cost: $20.00

Where:
Wall Street Theater
71 Wall Street
Norwalk, CT  06850
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Sponsor: Wall Street Theater
Telephone: 877-987-8764
Contact Name: Jeanne Moore
Website »

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In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

The Housatonic Museum of Art presents a new exhibition, “Drip Drop, Tick Tock” by regional artist, Joseph Fucigna. The show focuses on sculptures from the on-going Plastic Fencing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Housantonic Community College
900 Lafayette Blvd.
Bridgeport, CT  06604
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Telephone: 120-333-25052
Contact Name: Robin Zella

More information

Join us while we hunt for the East Coast's best Dance Crew. Watch as crews for all ethnic backgrounds and styles of dance come together to compete for title of The Best Dance Crew! Hip Hop,...

Cost: Pre Sale $25.00 Day of Show $30.00

Where:
Wall Street Theater
Wall Street
Norwalk, CT  06850
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Sponsor: Wall Street Theater
Telephone: 877-987-8764
Contact Name: Jeanne Moore
Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Open during regular Library hours Paradise [Lost] features a collection of color photographs by Árpád Krizsán, Best in Show winner of Pequot Library's 2017 Art Show....

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
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Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Pequot Library
Website »

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Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
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Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

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Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Top of the Hill: New Paintings,” a solo exhibition featuring new work by Brian Rutenberg. The show will open with a reception for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
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Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Francisco Fullana, Violin Soloist Join us for three masterpieces representing important moments in time for orchestral music.  Arvo...

Cost: $50; $37.50, $25, Students $10

Where:
Norwalk Concert Hall
125 East Avenue
NORWALK, CT  06855
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Symphony Orchestra
Telephone: 203-956-6771
Contact Name: Sandra Miklave, Executive Director
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, from September...

Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A series of graphic novel-style panels designed by illustrator Kirk Manley tells the dramatic story of the spy ring that operated between New York City, Long Island, and Fairfield during the...

Cost: Members: Free; Adults: $5; Seniors & Students: $3; children 5 and under: Free.

Where:
Fairfield Museum
370 Beach Rd
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

The Housatonic Museum of Art presents a new exhibition, “Drip Drop, Tick Tock” by regional artist, Joseph Fucigna. The show focuses on sculptures from the on-going Plastic Fencing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Housantonic Community College
900 Lafayette Blvd.
Bridgeport, CT  06604
View map »


Telephone: 120-333-25052
Contact Name: Robin Zella

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Formed in 1963 in Stamford, CT, The Fifth Estate was a central part of the garage rock movement. Remember NBC's 'Hullabaloo'? They performed their crackin' song 'I Just...

Cost: $28

Where:
Fairfield Theatre Company at StageOne
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Open during regular Library hours Paradise [Lost] features a collection of color photographs by Árpád Krizsán, Best in Show winner of Pequot Library's 2017 Art Show....

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Pequot Library
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Top of the Hill: New Paintings,” a solo exhibition featuring new work by Brian Rutenberg. The show will open with a reception for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Evocation of light is ever present in the romantic and experiential landscapes of Ira Barkoff. His recent works convey the spontaneity and the maturity of the artist’s hand and dedication to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: 1953
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

Francisco Fullana, Violin Soloist Join us for three masterpieces representing important moments in time for orchestral music.  Arvo...

Cost: $50; $37.50, $25, Students $10

Where:
Norwalk Concert Hall
125 East Avenue
NORWALK, CT  06855
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Symphony Orchestra
Telephone: 203-956-6771
Contact Name: Sandra Miklave, Executive Director
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Laura from Olive My Skin will be joining us to talk about her lovely natural soaps, wood wick soy candles and skin care line, all proudly made in Connecticut. All Fair Trade, paraben free,...

Cost: free

Where:
The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy
Telephone: (860)868-9003
Contact Name: susan
Website »

More information

ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, from September...

Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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