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Get a closer look at glass blowing at Fireworks Glass Studios

The art of glass blowing
Posted at 11:00 AM, Apr 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-21 11:00:43-04

It’s a type of art you don’t see often. But in downtown Williamston, Fireworks Glass Studios lets you see what glass blowing is all about.

“We're using techniques that are 2000 years old or developed by the Romans," said president and owner David Porter. “Glass blowing is the process of taking molten glass out of a large furnace that keeps it at a specified temperature. We use actually pretty primitive tools to shape and form the glass into the vision that we have for the particular piece.”

glass blowing
glass blowing

And it's called glass blowing because, well, you're actually blowing glass.

“There is a step in the creation process that inflates this gather of molten glass and blows it up. So we blow through a tube, a metal tube and inflate that into the vessel that we're trying to make," Porter said.

Porter says the studio started 17 years ago when he retired, but his interest in glass goes beyond that.

“I've had a love affair with glass since I was 12 years old, so I've been working with class for 60, 62 years now," Porter said. “My father was a research chemist, there was a glass blower in the facility where he worked, and I happen to see him working, and I was just mesmerized by what he was doing.”

glass blowing
glass blowing

At Fireworks Glass Studios, Porter allows the community to come on in and watch him and others make a lot of cool things.

"Vases, pates, bowls, but we also do some solid sculpture pieces, harps and Christmas ornaments," Porter said. “We have a blend of both functional art and decorative art.”

Glass art
Glass art

And in the last couple of years, they’ve started doing memorial art.

“We will take ashes from a loved one and incorporate it into a piece," Porter said.

They also have a program where they assist people who are struggling with cancer.

"There are certain pieces that if they're purchased 50% of the price of the piece goes to the particular family that we're trying to help at the current time," Porter said.

Chances are if you stop by or call ahead Monday through Saturday there's somebody working.

Glass art
Glass art

"Make a day of trip to Williamston, watch the glassblower, go to one of the restaurants here," Porter said."Come and watch see firsthand they can ask questions while we're working. We're glad to share our our knowledge and our experiences with it."

And you don’t even have to buy anything, it's free to watch. Porter and his team are just happy to educate people and keep the glass blowing tradition alive.

So, don't just sit around. Head to Williamston and see these talented artist bring their work to life.

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Meet Tianna Jenkins

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Tianna Jenkins

12:23 PM, Jan 12, 2021

Senior Multimedia Journalist