Art collective takes glass blowing on the road with mobile studio

Two Calgary artists are putting some hot air to good use with their mobile glass-blowing studio.

The brainchild of Mandy Patchin and Kai Scholefield from the Glass House Fine Art Collective, the mobile studio is a rolling art creation station built into the back of a moving truck.

Glass House mobile studio 3

Mandy Patchin, left, and Kai Scholefield of the Glass House Fine Art Collective have turned a moving truck into a rolling glass-blowing studio. The mobile studio will be at the cSpace King Edward arts hub from Aug. 16 to 20. (CBC)

“One of the walls opens up into a stage for us to do gigantic shows for festivals and such so everyone can see the inside of a studio and what goes on,” Scholefield told the Calgary Eyeopener.

The mobile studio has three main pieces of equipment inside that generate a lot of heat. This includes molten glass burners that reach 1,200 C.

Hot hot heat

The artists were inspired to create the mobile studio after multiple requests from clients and students for classes to come to them.

Scholefield said the mobile studio adds even more flair to the already theatrical art form of blowing glass.

“And we decided we were going to start really, really small, and eventually it got bigger and bigger, and now it’s gigantic,” Scholefield said.

Glass House mobile studio 1

Kai Scholefield cradles a glass creation at the Glass House Fine Art Collective’s mobile glass blowing studio. (CBC)

Although the studio is mobile, Patchin said it can’t be set up at the drop of a hat.

“It takes about 30 to 35 hours for the glass to heat up,” Patchin said. “So we can’t quickly move around but we can definitely come to a location, when planned and set up, and do a show.”

Burning down the house

Even though the artists work with molten glass and extreme temperatures, Patchin said people shouldn’t be afraid to try their hand at glass blowing.

“Generally, we burn ourselves on our tools because all our tools are metal,” Patchin said. “So you get that burn once and a while but I wouldn’t say it’s too dangerous.”

Angela Knight glass blowing

The Calgary Eyeopener’s Angela Knight tries her hand at creating a glass rose at the Glass House Fine Art Collective’s mobile glass blowing studio. (CBC)

From Aug. 16 to 20, the mobile studio will be set up at cSpace King Edward, an artist hub and venue located in the King Edward School building on 29th Avenue S.W.

Patchin said the Taste of Glass introductory classes run on Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

Classes are half an hour long and students learn to make either a wine glass, two ornaments or two paper weights. Classes cost $70. 

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener 

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