Darlene is a professional writer, voice-over and performing arts specialist
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It breaks, it bends, it even molds… it’s hot glass! And if you want to see this ancient art in action, visit Hollywood Hot Glass at ArtsPark on Young Circle for a mind-blowing spin.
Hollywood Lakes resident Brenna Baker came across the space at ArtsPark while vacationing from New York.
“I was visiting a friend for the weekend a few years ago,” explains Baker. “When it was time for my return flight, I stopped at a gas station on my way to the airport and my wallet and I.D. were stolen out of my car. While waiting for my passport to arrive in the mail, I decided to start looking for studio rentals around town to fulfill commission orders at home and meet some looming deadlines.”
Through research and word of mouth, Baker discovered there was a glassblowing studio in Hollywood.
“When I came across the beautiful open-air studio in the middle of an awesome city park, I was instantly inspired!” Baker says, “I saw the potential for a glassblowing business centered around the community.”
Baker submitted a proposal to the city of Hollywood and in June of 2013, she moved from New York to Hollywood and started building her vision – Hollywood Hot Glass.
Baker’s love for glass art started long before then however.
Growing up with Glass
“The first glass piece I ever made was a glass paperweight,” recalls Baker.
“I was three and I remember my grandmother had a glass paperweight collection. I used to carry her mille fiori (thousand flower) paperweights around with me all the time. My fascination with the 1,000 flowers inside the glass was a constant wonder to me. How did they get all of the flowers inside of the glass? After making my first piece I discovered they just gathered a clear coat on top and that was it! I figured it out and had to learn more!”
At 14, Baker moved with her mom to the rural town of Corning in New York, home to the Corning Museum of Glass, which houses one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of glass objects from antiquity to the present. It was during her time there that she learned the technical and aesthetic foundations of glass, which allowed her many wonderful opportunities throughout her career.
She spent a year working in Murano, Italy, under the tutelage of Pino Signoretto, arguably the world’s finest glass sculptor. She then traveled the world on Celebrity Solstice class ships with the Hot Glass Show of the Corning Museum of Glass, before becoming the youngest Master Gaffer ever employed by Steuben Glass.
Now, Baker loves to share her breadth of knowledge and unbridled enthusiasm with the people of South Florida.
“I’ve been all over the U.S. and the world and Hollywood is by far my favorite! I love the opportunity, diversity, the ocean – plus the unique quaint and charming city. I especially love the arts and the location of it being the heart of South Florida. And I love that it’s still kind of a hidden secret.”
Hollywood Hot Glass
Hollywood Hot Glass offers classes anytime, as Baker’s personal goal behind the business is to share her passion for glass with the community on a daily basis.
Twenty minute Walk-in Workshops start at $40.00 and are open to all ages. Four-year-olds can inflate the glass and eight-year-olds and up can do it all.
“We make it safe, fun and easy,” shares Baker, “so everyone can enjoy the ancient art of glass making. First you choose your project; flower, paperweight, ornament, tumbler, vase, bowl, heart and or starfish. Then you choose up to three or more colors. Our professional glassblowing instructors walk each student through a one-on-one, step-by-step process of shaping and inflating the glass themselves.”
Each piece takes about 15-25 minutes and the studio can accommodate up to three workshops at one time. Times are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 4 -10 p.m. and Saturday from 2-10 p.m.
Private lessons and/or personal party reservations are also available and are an excellent opportunity for people to learn the fundamentals of glass blowing, develop an advanced array of skills, or bring a particular design to life. Custom designs, lighting and installations are also a specialty and free live demonstrations are always available during hours of operation.
“I am extremely grateful and thankful to have the opportunity to share my passion with our community everyday. It is a true honor to witness the joy glass brings everyone and is by far the most rewarding part of my career today. It inspires and encourage my creativity and I hope I do same in return,” shares Baker. “Plus, we hold free raffles every week, so you never know when we’ll surprise you!”
To find out more visit HollywoodHotGlass.com. You can also follow them Instagram: @hollywoodhotglass; Facebook: Hollywood Hot Glass; and Twitter:@hotglassart.