Home Get fired up for the Virginia Hot Glass Festival

Get fired up for the Virginia Hot Glass Festival


sunspotsFlaming torches and fire-breathing dragons are part of the magic of the Virginia Hot Glass Festival, set for Saturday, April 25, and Sunday, April 26, 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 glassblowing 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 started the Kids’ Challenge a few years ago.  Both the glass artists and the children love it.  It is a real challenge for the glass artists to interpret the kids’ drawings, with all the colors and shapes that the kids dream up,” says festival organizer, Caroline Sheridan.  “And the successful glass creations are given to the kids who drew them, which they love.”

At some time during the weekend, Art of Fire glass blowers, from Maryland, will create a fire-breathing dragon that shoots flames from its mouth during one of the glassblowing demonstrations.   Flame work artists will shape small glass pieces in the heat of a flaming torch for people to watch.  In addition, glass artists will team up for special challenges and 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.

New this year, live music will be happening after Festival hours on Saturday at the new Sunspots Pavilion stage across from Sunspots Studios.  Local favorites, the Judy Chops will play a free concert from 7 to 9pm on April 25th.  Bringing their rocking Americana high-energy sound, The Judy Chops will be the first musical performance of the year on the new downtown venue.  Additional hot glass demonstrations will be open to the public inside Sunspots Studios glassblowing studio until 9pm.

Festival hours are Saturday, April 25, 9am to 6pm, with afterhours events from 7-9pm, and Sunday, April 26, 10am to 5pm. The Festival is held indoors at Sunspots Studios, 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.

Sunspots Studios creates and sells art glass in its Staunton gallery and studios, and offers visitors live glass blowing demonstrations daily year-round.  Sunspots is five 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.



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