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Hot glass feats make festival a unique experience

sunspots-newFlaming ray guns and fire-breathing dragons are part of the magic of the Virginia Hot Glass Festival, set for Saturday, April 27, and Sunday, April 28, at Sunspots Studios in Downtown Staunton.

Hot glass artists from around the region gather annually at the Festival, bringing booths full of beautiful art glass items and demonstrating their craft throughout the weekend.  On-going demonstrations of glass blowing and flame-working techniques are what make this Festival unique to the region, providing a rare opportunity to watch glass artists at work.  And best of all, it is free.

The Festival is family-friendly, and once again this year children will be invited to draw picture of something they would like to see the glass artists attempt to make.  Some of the drawings will be selected to test the artists’ skills.

“We did the Kids’ Challenge for the first time last year.  Both the glass artists and the children loved it.  It is a real challenge for the glass artists to interpret the kids’ drawings, with all the colors and shapes that the kids include,” says Festival organizer, Caroline Sheridan.  “And the successful creations were given to the kids that drew them, which they loved.”

In addition, several visitors will be invited at random to step into the glass studio and assist the glass blower in making a hand-blown ornament.  At some time during the weekend, Art of Fire glass artist, Josh Ries, will create a fire-breathing dragon that shoots flames from its mouth during one of his demonstrations.   Glass artist Chad Clark will create a flaming ray gun for the crowds during his demonstration.  In addition, glass artists will team up for other demonstrations.

The artists’ booths will take over the second floor of Sunspots Studios.  Everything from goblets to vases, and glass jewelry to marbles will be available, encompassing hot glass creations from the functional to pure art.  “The amazing variety that hot glass allows as a medium is clear when you take a walk through the artists’ booths during the Festival,” says Sunspots owner, Doug Sheridan.  “The colors and shapes, and the almost magical properties of glass, give it a special place in the art world.  And the fact that a piece must be created from start to finish in one sitting—usually in a space of less than 30 minutes–is intriguing.”  Sheridan is also one of Sunspots’ glass artists, where glass blowing demonstrations are offered daily throughout the year.

Festival hours are Saturday, April 27, 9am to 6pm, and Sunday, April 28, 10am to 5pm. The Festival is held indoors at Sunspots, 202 S. Lewis St. in downtown Staunton.  Parking is available on-site, and the Festival is handicapped accessible.

In addition to glass art, the Virginia Stone Carvers will be exhibiting and demonstrating stone sculpting across the street from Festival.  Barren Ridge Vineyards will offer wine tasting at the Festival, and food will be available.

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 Ave., and is open 7 days a week.  For more information, call Sunspots Studios at (540) 885-0678, or visit www.sunspots.com.

For information on other area tourist attractions and lodging, call the Staunton Convention and Visitors Bureau (800) 342-7982 or visit www.visitstaunton.com.


Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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