Gatherhouse: Glassblowing in Frisco, Colorado

Gatherhouse: Glassblowing in Frisco, Colorado

Gatherhouse: Glassblowing in Frisco, Colorado

It’s called Gatherhouse, after the glassblowing term of gathering, or collecting molten glass from the furnace. Here at this Frisco, Colorado studio and gallery, the name seems to have a second meaning.

Minutes ago I was helping stretch an orange and yellow gob of hot glass into 15-foot rod, no thicker than my little finger. Now that it’s been cooled and broken into four-inch pieces, Brendan Price uses a hand torch to re-heat them. His wife Jana Carrington heats another piece of glass in the furnace.

We’re at Gatherhouse, John and Kate Hudnut’s Frisco, Colorado studio and gallery, because we saw an advertisement for glassblowing demos in the local paper. We show up thinking we’ll watch the action, but before long several of us are heating, holding, fanning, blowing and participating in the making of a new piece. He remains amazingly calm as he instructs strangers to work with expensive tools, sensitive materials and a 2,200-degree furnace.

John Hudnut gets to work in his downtown Frisco, Colorado glassblowing studio, Gatherhouse.

John Hudnut gets to work in his downtown Frisco, Colorado glassblowing studio, Gatherhouse.

John and Kate specialize in glass and offer several types of design services, from advertising and marketing to industrial and environmental design.

Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday people gather in downtown Frisco for the glass demos. A young couple parks on the chairs next to John’s workbench, a woman stands for a few minutes with her face pressed against the front shop window and two others soon wander in. Price and Carrington were on a short Colorado vacation from Orlando, Fla., when they found their way here. And now, a few days later, they’re taking classes.

John has worked in Philadelphia; Corning, N.Y.; Florence, Italy; Paris, and Seattle. He landed in Frisco three years ago and, when asked why he chose Main Street of the Rockies over the Champs-Élysées, he walks outside and gestures to the snow-capped peaks of the Tenmile Range.

“And do you think my car is locked?” he asks. No, it isn’t. And neither is mine.

While John’s work could easily line the shelves of elite galleries in Aspen or Vail, his attitude and openness suits laid-back Summit County. (As do his prices.)

“I can’t think of anything interesting to say,” he says, before getting back to heating and blowing the brightly colored hot glass. “Maybe you can make something up. I’m not a stickler for accuracy.”

With mouths slightly open, the six or so people gathered around John’s workbench watch as he twists a stripe in the piece into a delicate swirl pattern. No need for make-believe here.

Gatherhouse: 110 2nd Ave. in Frisco, Colorado
http://gatherhouse.com

John and Kate Hudnut open the Frisco, Colorado studio and gallery to the public every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 2 to 7 p.m., and by appointment. Visit the Gatherhouse Website for information on glassblowing classes and where to view and purchase John’s work.

A longer version of this story originally ran on GoColorado.com; read it here.

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