Warner Art Glass

Warner Art Glass

The cool, smooth surfaces of hand-blown art glass curve and swoop like fluid moments frozen in time and space. Viewed in the hushed serenity of a chic gallery, these delicate pieces may seem remote and aloof. However, the dynamic atmosphere of Warner Art Glass welcomes tactile interaction and creates an immersive experience. Displays of eclectic glass giftware such as bowls, sculptures, andnd pitchers – made primarily on premises – spread throughout the sprawling light-filled space where hobbyists and professionals also shop for supplies and visitors can observe artists in action– or even engage in a variety of learning opportunities. 

Warner Art Glass CEO Angelo Grello notes that the popular Netflix series Blown Away, a competition among skilled glassblowers – referred to in the industry as gaffers – offers exposure to this ancient art form to new audiences, making their hands-on Hot Glass Encounter a true “hot ticket.” These events can also be booked as a team-building exercise or party for a range of ages and celebrations – with groups bringing food and beverages – and the windowed hot glass studio allows people to watch the process of clear glass being heated to a hotter-than-lava 2125°F before color is added, followed by shaping and molding. 

Cost-free learning options include classes in Glass Cutting, a recommended preliminary to a Foil & Solder class, and such informative seminars as Intro to Mosaics, or Leaded Glass Panels for those interested in learning to create stained glass panels. Exquisite and highly diverse examples on exhibit are both inspirational and aspirational to budding glass workers. (Other than glassblowing, most other forms can be tackled mainly at home.) Company founder and owner Charles Warner provides these free sessions in hopes of sparking a creative passion for the art form that has been a driving force in his life for more than four decades. And Grello reports that “customers become lifers here,” adding that some people he taught forty years ago are instructors now. “It’s sort of a pay-it-forward thing,” he notes.

Although there is a fee, an introductory Fused Trivet Workshop enables participants to go start-to-finish in designing and crafting a kiln-fired 10-inch fused glass trivet. In addition, a seasonal Holiday Ornament Workshop still has a few slots available for those looking to shape Christmas adornments sure to become treasured family keepsakes. 

While there may not be time to explore your inner gaffer during this busy season, plenty of handcrafted ornaments are stocked, and custom designs may be ordered. A wide and highly appealing assortment of imported, handmade figurines – extremely modest in size and price – are purchased in ready-to-wrap boxes. Some come adorned with Swarovski crystals, others with 24-karat gold leaf, but all will elicit smiles when pulled from a Christmas stocking. 

Loving Tributes

Although coming to terms with the loss of a family member or beloved pet is challenging, colorfully swirled art glass memorials can serve as a beautifully timeless testimonial to your loved one. Choose among different sizes and shapes, such as hearts, orbs, worry stones and more, with special add-ons that include a pet tag hook or small hole through which a pet collar can be looped, or becoming actively involved in the memorial creation by working with a professional glass artist. 

“It offers a different kind of closure,” Grello explains. “What’s unique about this is that you’re taking a minute amount of ashes and you’re memorializing them in a piece of art, and it’s out in the open – a reminder every day that that pet was in your life, and the same thing with people.” He observes that when family members or friends gather to take part in this process, the atmosphere is usually somber. “People are in the dumps. But in about 15 minutes the smiles come out as they start to realize this can be a reopening in their lives. It’s not for everybody, but people who do do it walk away elated with what they have.”

Ashes in the memorial pieces can be seen and identified in the white swirls that mix with the chosen colors of glass. The urn or sealed bag from the cremator, which is resealed when the ashes needed have been removed, are treated with utmost dignity and respect. “We have a strict criteria on how that’s done, whether a person or a pet,” Grello says. 

This inclusive endeavor can be tremendously uplifting to all those involved in the experience. And the crystalline remembrance object will serve as a comforting reminder that your loved one is “forever by your side.”  


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