Tucked away in Park City, and guarded by two friendly golden retrievers, is a unique and off-the-beaten-path resort destination — Red Flower Studios. Here, owners Daniel Bell and Micah Goddard teach the ancient art of glass blowing. Customers melt color into glass before a 2000 degree oven, blow air into the molten globules to give them shape, and then put finishing touches on the crafts that they then get to keep.
Yes, that’s right — an oven that is 500 degrees hotter than molten lava. While that may sound like some hardcore crafting, it’s actually perfectly safe under the skilled supervision of Bell and Goddard.
“You can feel the heat, but you won’t be close enough to get burned,” Goddard says.
They will help you start a project such as a cup or vase — or, depending on the season, Christmas ornaments, glass pumpkins or Easter eggs. Guests choose broken glass shards that will be added to the project to give it color.
“Molten glass has the consistency of honey,” Goddard says. The colored shards are “kind of like sprinkles on ice cream.” Guests turn the piece at the end of a long tool inside the very hot furnace — roasting it like a marshmallow to allow the colored shards to melt into the piece.
The novice glassblowers then blow air into their creations — again under the guidance of Goddard and Bell. Breathing life into the project is a real art but one that’s perfectly safe. You won’t get your lips melted off or even chapped.
The whole process is very impressive. Molten glass only keeps its shape for a short while. Once it’s out of the furnace there is not much time to manipulate the material before it begins to harden. To keep the creations from cracking, they are placed in an annealer — basically a temperature-controlled cooler that keeps the creations from cooling so fast that they shatter. After the creations have cooled overnight, they can be picked up the next day.
Most creations cost around $50, but that includes time spent working the ovens and forging your art by the very breath in your lungs — making it a very affordable and unique experience. As a result, Goddard says, it’s one that’s very popular with date nights and group outings.
The “create your own” experience is best booked in advance as the studio is only open for limited hours for these activities. Bell and Goddard do work on commission and create custom lighting projects for homes and offices. But they really revel in sharing the magic of glass blowing with the public.
“There are a lot of glass blowing studios across the country, but not many that let people have hands-on experience with it,” Goddard says.