Artists play with fire at Virginia Hot Glass Festival

Clouds of steam rise as an artist shapes a ball of 2000-degree molten glass, glowing bright orange on the end of his blowpipe. He tips the opposite end to his mouth and blows into it. A bubble appears in the middle of the molten glass.

“Ooooooo,” murmurs the crowd.

This is the typical scene at the Virginia Hot Glass Festival, now in its tenth year at Sunspots Studios in Staunton. Visitors can watch the various processes used by artists to create everything glass – from two-foot tall vessels to art glass marbles that give the illusion of a bottomless vortex.

This year’s Festival takes place Saturday, April 28, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. inside Sunspots Studios in Staunton. Admission is free, and nearby parking is available.

“The Virginia Hot Glass Festival is a unique kind of art fair,” says organizer and glass artist, Doug Sheridan. “First, it is devoted to a single medium: glass.  Second, our artists demonstrate their craft for the public to watch.  The Glass Festival is an amazing opportunity for the public to watch art being made before their eyes.”

Artists come from all over the eastern United States to participate, so visitors can see and buy glass art from many artists in one location. In addition to glass blowers, flame-work artists will be represented. These artists melt and shape glass in torch flames to create art glass jewelry, goblets, sculptures, marbles, and many other items. Glass-blowing and flame-working demonstrations are ongoing during the Festival.

In addition, the Virginia Stone Carvers will be exhibiting and demonstrating stone sculpting across the street from Festival.

Sunspots Studios creates and sells artworks of copper and art glass in its Staunton studios, and offers visitors live glass blowing demonstrations daily year-round.  Sunspots is 5 minutes from I-81 (Exit 220) and I-64, near Staunton’s historic train depot.  It is located in the historic Klotz Building, 202 S. Lewis St., at the corner of Middlebrook, and is open 7 days a week.

For more information, call Sunspots Studios at (540) 885-0678, or visit www.sunspots.com.

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