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Sandstorm Glassworks – Lee Ware and Bren Merritt

Today's post is written by guest blogger Michele Lang of Tierra Verde Soaps

Here in Lubbock, Texas we are so very privileged to have Sandstorm Glassworks- a private glass blowing studio that graciously offers classes to the general public. How cool is that?

Glass blowing- is a process used to give glass shape.

A combination of Limestone, sand, potash and soda ash is heated in a furnace to above 2000 degrees. A blowpipe is used to collect molten glass from the furnace-the molten glass is then rolled onto a marver to cool the exterior of the glass so that it can then be manipulated with tweezers and air to create a magical form of light and color. 

  Lee Ware at work

How did Sandstorm Glassworks come to fruition-right here in Lubbock, Texas?

Sandstorm Glassworks opened in Lubbock, TX on November 4th 2010.  We just passed our one-year anniversary.  Lee was located in Austin TX prior to moving to Lubbock to open the studio.  Bren was located in Lubbock, and worked out of her private studio.  A mutually acquainted artist in Austin introduced us.  The Lubbock Arts Alliance worked with us closely and we located studio space, eventually deciding on a location in the Lubbock Cultural District at 19th and Buddy Holly--- co-located with Tornado Gallery.  Finding the right location, combining our equipment, and right mix of unique glass art skills, Sandstorm Glassworks was created.  

It’s so great that Lubbock has a working glass studio that offers classes to the public.

  • Who can take classes and what if any are the requirements?

Anyone over the age of 15 years old is welcome.  This limitation is in place as a general guideline as a certain height, arm length, and body strength is needed to blow glass.

  • Can someone with no experience come in and actually make something in one lesson?

Yes! Our workshops start out with a general introduction and tour of the glassblowing studio talking about the equipment and in general how things operate, along with the process of glassblowing, in a nutshell.  We then create a demonstration piece of the workshop’s project.  From there participants work with a skilled glass artist to create their design and color combination.

 Beautiful Glass Paper Weight with wisps of blue and red

  • Can you give us an idea of how much a class runs?

Most of our classes are in the $35-40 range, but can range up to $90 depending on the project.  For example, glass ornaments or wine bottle stopper workshops are $35, and glass vase workshops are $90.   Prices are posted on our website along with the class schedule.  Reservations are recommended.  Call or email us to reserve space in our upcoming workshops.

  • Lee - Tell us your vision for teaching glass blowing? How do you see classes evolving in the future?

Currently we are offering single session workshops and classes.  Items that we teach include ornaments, glass flowers, wine bottle stoppers, heart shaped and traditional paperweights, sun spinners, and vases.  We most recently did a series of glass Mini-Pumpkins for Halloween and the Thanksgiving holidays.

 This beautiful wine stopper would give a touch of elegance to any wine.(What a great host/hostess gift for the holidays!)

  Fun and whimsical mini glass pumpkins- students were taught how to make these little 4” mini’s this past Oct in class. 

Imagine a Christmas tree full of colorful hand blown glass ornaments-you could learn to make your own!

We have recently completed our first introductory glassblowing class.  This was a 5-session class with a total of 15 hours of instruction, limited to four students so each gets ample hands on experience.  Participants learn the fundamental skills required for glass blowing.  After we’ve conducted 3-4 of these intro sessions, the class offerings will progress to an Intro II class and eventually on to advanced classes.  Graduates of these classes will be able to rent studio time, allowing them to execute their own glass artwork pieces.

Yes-you can make one of these too! This bowl is the work of a student- pretty amazing huh?

What is your dream project?

I really like collaborative artwork.  Pairing up with a sculpture, painter, or metal worker interests me most.  The individual skill sets and vision could only lead to great, unconceived before, art.

Where would you like to be in ten years?

I'd like Sandstrom Glassorks to be a central hub for glass artists in the West Texas area. I see bringing in very talented artists from all over the world to share with our local talent. 

For people who want to get by for a class or to visit you during First Art Trail - where are you located? 

1822 Buddy Holly Ave.
Lubbock TX  79401

We are co-located with Tornado Gallery.  Walk into the courtyard and we are the last door on the left.  Primarily we are a private studio, but feel free to stop by during one of our workshops or exhibitions.

Lee and Bren are often participate in the First Friday Art Trail so be sure to pop by to see check out their latest works. FFAT takes place on the first Friday of every month, galleries, restaurants and businesses open their doors in support of the local arts. This event is free to the public you can drive to each venue on your own or take the trolley for a guided tour.

Where can people find you on the internet if they want to stay updated on classes or where you will be selling your works? 

Please stop by and “like” the Sandstorm Glassworks Facebook page to see what they are up to and to receive updates for classes offered. 


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