01“Paperweight paddle!” requested Dave Porter as he worked with his student to make her first glass-formed paperweight. His expression reminiscent of a surgeon requesting a scalpel. It turns out that indeed Dave is a former emergency room doctor. Tekla Balmer, apprentice turned employee, mentioned that Dave is a man of many talents. Not only an artisan, surgeon and pilot, Dave welded and built the studio’s equipment, including the re-heating chamber referred to as “Glory”.
This is Fireworks Glass Studios’ ninth Christmas season. Dave Porter, the owner and his business partner and studio manager Rhonda Baker, are the primary artists behind the studio.
Shop the retail area where the studio offers decorative and functional hand-blown glass made on-site. This is a perfect alternative to mass-produced Christmas ornaments. The hand-blown multi-colored bulbs in a variety of shapes and sizes can adorn your Christmas tree, starting at $18 each. Choose a first Christmas together for the newlyweds or a baby’s first Christmas for those new parents on your list.
The team invites you to stop by to watch them work. Demonstrations are free. In addition to watching glass blowing, you can play with fire and molten glass through the paperweight experience. Instead of buying a pre-made gift, make your own holiday gifts with this hands-on activity. The glass-making event offers a hands-on experience for the gift-giver, under supervision of a local artisan and a hand-made personalized gift for the receiver. Allow at least 24 hours in the annealing oven for the piece to come to room temperature, before you take it home. Making a paperweight is the first step in glass blowing instruction.
For the artists on your Christmas list, purchase a gift certificate. After the holidays, they can create their own paperweight. Give not only an object; but also, a skill.
Tekla insisted we are all family and treat everyone like family. Activities at Fireworks Glass Studios are perfect for families or corporate team building, couples on their first date wanting to share a new encounter, those with glass making on their bucket list, Bachelorette Parties, or those looking for a way to manage their stress. Rhonda explained that some people exercise to reduce stress; but glass art is also a great stress reducer.
Call a week ahead to make an appointment for the paperweight experience. The cost is $50 for the half hour of hands-on fun. Glass items range in cost from $10 to $300. Making memorial paperweights is also available.
Besides Christmas decorations, the artisans make many other year round items. There are cake pedestals for weddings or executive desk sets including a paperweight, pen stand, and business card holder. Glass light shades are available to liven your décor. Other seasonal decorations include the autumn orange glass blown pumpkins with silver stems.
Commissioned pieces designed to your specifications are a one-of-a-kind wedding or birthday gift rather than an off-the-shelf item from a department store. Often Dave provides a selection when presenting a commissioned piece.
For fundraisers contact Dave or Rhonda for specifics on this unique opportunity for your organization. Fireworks Glass Studios offers events starting with children as young as seven for parties, home-schoolers, or scouts.
After making a paperweight, there are glass blowing classes. There are single event classes for a group of four lasting three hours with two instructors or a series of classes over five weeks.
The Fireworks Glass Studios’ holiday hours are Monday through Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Sunday they are closed.
Fireworks Glass Studios
119 S. Putnam Street, Williamston, Michigan 48895