To clearly delight, make a glass gift

November 06, 2008|By Raven Smith | Raven Smith,raven.smith@baltsun.com

With this year's holiday season coinciding with increasing worries by consumers about the state of the economy, many people are beginning to get a bit more creative with their gift-giving habits. They are forgoing high-priced gadgets in favor of something more heartfelt.

But even though it's the thought that counts when it comes to gift-giving, coming up with a good gift idea still can be difficult.

A couple of local glass blowers offer some ideas. Corradetti Glass Studio and Gallery and McFadden Art Glass say art fans of every skill level can make their own tree ornaments and holiday decorations for giving (or keeping).

At the Corradetti studio, would-be artists can create glass ornaments with the help of some of the studio's trained glass blowers. Studio owner Anthony Corradetti says those new to the art can find themselves a little frustrated with their lack of crafting skills at first, but practice will help.

"It takes a lot of commitment and time to become really good [at glass blowing]," he said. "I've been doing this for 30 years full time and I'm still discovering new things every day."

Since opening the studio in 1980 and beginning workshops a year later, Corradetti has tried, he said, to play "a positive role in helping people to understand this art form." He said class sizes vary during the year, but holiday-themed workshops are usually the most popular draw. This time of year, people come in waves.

"Group lessons are [the] most popular among the general public," he said. "We book many business groups and team-building events, private party rentals with glass blowing as the activity and friends who want to learn something amazing together."

Tim McFadden, owner of the McFadden Art Glass studio, agrees with Corradetti on the amount of time and dedication that glass blowing takes - and he concurs that people seem more willing to give it a try around the holidays.

"Glass is a tough medium to work with in comparison to most other artistic mediums," he said. "I've done a little metal working, ceramics, wood, etc., but glass blowing has definitely proven to be the hardest that I've come across so far. I've been blowing glass for about seven years now and there is still so much that I'm learning about the process every day."

He says that it generally takes 15 to 20 years before a person can become a really good glass blower. But the workshops that his studio offers during the year, and during the holidays, have people of all ages and experience levels coming in for a lesson.

"The age range for participants is very broad," he said. "We work with kids 5 years old up through adults, and we have had 5-year-olds and 85-year-olds in for workshops here in the past."

if you go

Corradetti Glass Studio and Gallery (2010 Clipper Park Road, Suite 119) is offering mini-workshops throughout this month and December. The cost is $40-$45. The studio also sells pre-made ornaments for about $22. Call 410-243--2010 or go to corradetti.com.

McFadden Art Glass (6800 Eastern Ave.) has two "Make-Your-Own Ornament" workshops scheduled Dec. 7 and Dec. 20. Each participant will receive assistance from the studio's staff and a step-by-step tutorial on the art of glass blowing. All ornaments cost $35 a piece. Call 410-631-6039 or go to mcfaddenartglass.com.

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