On Saturday, February 10, UrbanGlass, the largest glass studio in New York and on the East Coast, opened its doors to the public for its first open studio day of the year. Attendees browsed through the 17,000-foot Fort Greene facility, participating in bead-stringing and silk-screen printing activities, as well as witnessed the thrilling art of glassblowing!
Even though UrbanGlass is in operation almost every day of the year, Executive Director Cybele Maylone said that the studio doesn’t easily render itself to tour groups.
“What artists are sometimes doing here is not set up for people to wander around and look at because it involves torches and things that are really hot,” she said. “So I think our open studios are a really important time that people find out about us, come in and spend some time here, meet artists, [and] learn about the processes that artists utilize to make their work. And what is often the case is that those people want to come back.”
UrbanGlass has been drawing people into the art of working with glass since 1977, when a group of artists decided to pool their resources to build a glass studio in Manhattan. In 1991, the studio was moved to its current location in Fort Greene, where it now serves a community of 300 artist,s as well as local college students and any interested member of the public who signs up for a workshop. To Maylone, having this range of people using the facility is part of UrbanGlass’s appeal.
“One of the really great things about our studio,” Maylone said, “is that you’d be here and see a professional artist making work for a museum show; working alongside a college student; working alongside someone who’s here really just for fun; alongside an artist who is learning to [work with] glass for the very first time. So there’s this interesting mix that’s pretty unique to a studio like ours.”
But for Maylone and the locals who crowded into the studio on Saturday to watch UrbanGlass artists mold molten glass into abstract sculptures and delicate jewelry, the material itself is also unique. It is hard not to want to sign up for one of UrbanGlass’s workshops after seeing someone twist and contort a hunk of glass as if it were putty.
BK Reader captured some of the open studio’s most mesmerizing moments in video – see for yourself!
Article written by Shiloh Frederick for BK Reader. For more stories like these, please visit our friends at BK Reader!