Hand blown glass artwork is simply beautiful. It mimics nature while beckoning you to touch it or at least look at it closely to inspect all of its twists and turns. To see an artist work on a blown glass piece is pretty incredible. The material is so fragile that a simple slip could ruin the piece. It also has a danger element in that if the craftsman isn’t careful enough, they could be scarred for life. In the Northwest, we have a number of artisans who create beauty every day. Here are five of the best.
Avalon Glassworks
2914 S.W. Avalon Way
Seattle, WA 98126
(206) 937-6369

Boasting of being West Seattle’s oldest “hot shop,” Avalon Glassworks offers families to come see the beautiful creations that they have made while they are in the process of creating new ones. Even dogs are welcome. Located just 10 minutes from downtown Seattle, Avalon Glassworks’ artists get their inspiration from the Northwest landscape and then transforms it into contemporary works of art such as vases, bowls, ornaments and many other pieces. Call ahead to find out when the best times to watch the artists at work.

Blowing Sands Glass Studio
5805 14th Ave. N.W.
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 783-5314

This hot shop has been a Ballard neighbor and its arts community since 1994. David Smith, owner of Blowing Sands, has been doing what he does best for 25 years. In addition to the beautiful art featured in the showroom, Smith is also available for commission work and he has been known to teach the art of glass blowing to those interested. Just give him a call for the instruction costs. In addition to Smith’s work, Blowing Sands also features artwork from over 20 different Northwest artists, each with their own unique style and flair.

Glass House Studio
311 Occidental Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 682-9939

The Glass House Studio has been around since 1971, just when interest in glass blowing became popular. It is the oldest studio in the greater Seattle area. Just as each artist is different, so is their artwork. Each piece is a one-of-a-kind find with its own unique design. However, with that said, each piece must adhere to the house rules of high standards that the Glass House has been known for all these years.

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Tacoma Glassblowing Studio
114 S. 23rd St.
Tacoma, WA 98402
(253) 383-3499

While other hot shops offer a variety of different types of glass art, the Tacoma Glassblowing Studio only features pumpkins. The glass pumpkin patch is run by husband and wife Mark and Jeannine Sigafoos and would love for you to see their wonderland of glass pumpkins of many different shapes, sizes and colors. The Sigafoos not only believe in creating beautiful art, they believe in giving back to their community as well. For each purchase made, 10 percent of the sale goes toward local children’s charities.

Bob Rice Glass
8508 199th PL S.W.
Edmonds, WA 98026
(206) 851-1566

If you don’t have a green thumb, but would like to have a little more foliage in your home, you’ll want to check out the translucent creations at Bob Rice Glass whose shop specializes in garden glass art. Here, you’ll find “plants” that mimic the real thing including yucca, bamboo, cactus, mushrooms and more. Bob’s desire is to offer up a variety of glass plants that have never been created in hand blown glass art. But just because he’s seen it, doesn’t mean that you have and would be worth the trip to see his craftsmanship up close.

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Jeffrey Totey is a freelance writer living in Seattle. He has a love for the arts and is a student of pop culture. He covers stories about the performing arts, theater, museums, cultural events, movies and more in the greater Seattle area. His work can be found at Examiner.com.