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Asheville glass artists create holiday ornament to benefit community

Post Time:Nov 20,2015Classify:Industry NewsView:422

ASHEVILLE, N.C. —Things are looking up on the South Slope of downtown Asheville.  And it's as clear as a pint glass that breweries, though there will soon be eight in the area, aren't the only reason the once-neglected part of town is enjoying a resurgence.

Lexington Glassworks has quickly become a South Slope destination for locals and tourists in Asheville. Longtime friends and glass artists, Geoff Koslow and Billy Guilford transformed an abandoned automotive shop into a high-end glassworking studio and gallery less than a year ago.  The Alfred University alums credit Asheville's reputation for fine and unique art for much of their success. After watching them work, hour after hour, next to a 2.300-degree furnace, it's undeniable the role sweat equity has played as well.


"The word ‘hot’ is very much a relative term in the world of glassblowing," says Koslow.  "Our 'cooling oven' for example, is often heated to 900 degrees."


Slideshow: How do they do that? Learn techniques of the glassblowing  trade


VIDEO: Watch Billy complete the 14-hour ornament making process in less than 14 seconds!


In the coming days, those cooling ovens will be filled with delicate red and white globes as the Glassworks team creates its very first limited-edition holiday ornament.


Guilford explains, "The ornaments will be released on November 28th. And then for the next 12 days, we will donate a portion of the sales to the Irene Wortham Center. This will be a December tradition for us.”


Specializing in custom glass lighting, Guilford and Koslow blow through (literally) at least 300 pounds of glass a week.  Most designs begin in a sketchbook. They then fire up the furnace (2,100 degrees), the glory hole (2,300 degrees) and the kiln (900 degrees) six days a week to keep up with current demand and to experiment with new creations. Visitors can watch them work live every day except Tuesday.


Using centuries-old Italian techniques, Koslow and Guilford transform silica "sand", from a manufacturer in Spruce Pine, North Carolina into artistic forms ranging from fist-size paperweights to room-filling chandeliers.


There isn’t much left to chance in glassblowing. Everything we do is incredibly intentional… from where we place colors to how much air we blow into the glass… you only get one shot,” says Koslow.


Guilford continues, “We carefully control the quality of our raw materials, and its heating, and cooling, and shaping, but in the end, gravity has the biggest influence on our end product. That’s why hand-blown glass has a beautiful fluidity about it, and no two pieces will ever be exactly alike.”


Lexington Glassworks: 81 S. Lexington Ave. Asheville, NC 28801

Ornament release party: Saturday, November 28  Noon-6 p.m.

Ornament sales benefit:  Irene Wortham Center  IWC helps children and adults with developmental and/or socioeconomic challenges.

Source: http://www.wyff4.com/news/asheville-glass-artists-Author: shangyi

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