Glass art in Portland, Oregon

A culture of creativity and close proximity to materials makes the city a hot spot for the medium

Evan Burnette of Local Art Glass shapes a vase with a cherry wood block

The Leidenfrost effect protects wooden tools… and sometimes skin.

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When glassblowers dip their punty into the furnace to retrieve liquid glass, the heat can approach 2,300° Fahrenheit — for perspective, that’s slightly hotter than lava when it reaches the surface.

These extreme conditions are part of the reason why the PNW and its metropolitan areas like Portland have long attracted artists of this medium; historically at least, mild summers and not-too-cold winters allowed them to better walk the tightrope and keep ambient working temperatures right in the sweet spot.

With time-tested suppliers like Bullseye Glass Co. and Northstar Glassworks in town, the Rose City is home to a vibrant culture + community for various different forms of glass art. Whether you’d like to learn more about the processes or simply want to support local makers, these are some of the studios you should know about.

Firehouse Glass

Since co-founders Greg Lueck and Rebecca Seymour opened this gallery in 1999, it has been a mainstay of the Vancouver Arts District. Many local glassblowers earned their stripes (and scars) here, and the shop still offers lessons and rental facilities for those interested.

Esque Studio

If you’re a fan of Netflix’s “Blown Away,” you’re probably familiar with Andi Kovel, who featured on the hit show’s second season. Alongside Justin Parker, the duo designs stunning pieces, from decanters to light fixtures for grand installations.

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Local Art Glass

Evan Burnette’s fine art skews surreal and oftentimes absurd, with plenty of individuality. When he’s not crafting “Dichroic Glitter Chickens” or “pickle ships,” he plies his craft at making vases and ornaments (which are immensely popular on Etsy).

Rachel Escoe Glass

This Portland native attended Alberta University of the Arts in Calgary, Canada, before returning to continue sharing her passion with those around her via private + group workshops. You can shop her creations on her website or at J. Pepin Art Gallery.

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