In the historic part of town in an area known as Staunton’s “Wharf District” is a corner shop where beautiful hand blown items are created. The shop is Sunspots Studio.
My best girlfriend, Cindy, came for a visit so we spent the day in Staunton and decided to see what was in Sunspots. Cindy, who lives in Pompano Beach Florida, and I have known each other since we were 3 years old and we have been on many adventures together. Sunspots was our first glass blowing experience.
As we walked through the front door, our eyes focused on the many glass pieces displayed everywhere. So we naturally did what normal girls do…begin to browse and shop around! Their glass gallery displays various glass creations made by regional artists. These pieces are one of a kind, made in here locally in Staunton VA! Also in the gallery, we found other items available for sell made from local artists such as jewelry and handbags. A girl’s dream!
We eventually made our way into the glass blowing studio where a local artist was demonstrating his art of blowing glass. He began to explain how the glass was heated enough to be blown and how it gradually hardens as it loses its heat. The glass is heated in a furnace having temperatures up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. A separate heat box is used to keep the pipes hot in order to adhere to the glass so the artist can work to shape the pieces. It was great to chat with him to learn about this unique talent.
On Saturdays you can be an artist yourself and blow your own glass ornament with the assistance of the artist, of course. Cindy and I did a lot of glass breaking growing up but never glass blowing. So we were excited to attempt to make our special ornaments. You select a color for your new creation from pieces of glass. We both chose different shades of purple.
And away we went blowing our hot air into the blowpipe.
Viola! Ornaments were created. It requires 24 hour to cool the ornament to room temperature in the special container called an Annealer so we picked them up the next day.
Every year, the Virginia Hot Glass Festival is held at Sunspots during the last weekend in April. The 2 day event (April 25 & 26) fills up two floors of their building with artists from around the region who are busy doing non-stop demostrations. Besides glass demonstrations, Virginia Stone Carvers Guild will be there doing stone carvings. Plus Barren Ridge Vineyards will be on-site for wine tastings and selling wine by the glass. Even more reason to go!
Sunspots is a great “spot” to learn about glass blowing and shop for some local artisan goodies!
My finished ornament is displayed in our Social Room so come see it the next time you are here.
Melissa, Ray & Bacchus