Ulster County may have once been known for its multiple industrial glassworks dotting the countryside, but today the higher artistry of glass is practiced with a variety of techniques in the studios of Dutchess County. A summertime field trip around the county can be a fun and fascinating adventure in seeking out artisans of this amorphous material, and for eager learners there are a bevy of classes available.
DC Studios Stained Glass, located at 21 Winston Drive in Rhinebeck, is a full-service stained glass facility offering custom design and fabrication of gorgeous and intricate windows, panels, transoms, sconces, lampshades and lots more. Likening design and restoration processes to working a puzzle, stained glass artist and studio owner Doris Cultraro delights in collaborating with customers to fulfill their needs. She has been at it for more than three decades, working with other design professionals and private clients to customized stained glass items that become an exploration of the color, texture and opacity of glass. A visit to DC Studios is an education in the variety of period styles and materials of this ancient artform.
Cultraro recently conducted classes at the Banner Hill School of Fine Arts in Windham, including a four-day “Master Stained Glass Intensive” and a course on “Stained Glass Computer Design.” For more information about her stained glass items, restoration and repairs, call (845) 876-3200 and visit www.dcstudiosllc.com.
Gilmor Glass, located at 2 Main Street in Millerton, was originally established in Pine Plains by John and Jan Gilmor. The spacious gallery, close to the Berkshires and the Litchfield Hills, is the premiere studio for the traditional techniques of creating mouth- and hand-blown glass items and artworks. From stemware, bowls and vases to fine jewelry and accessories, visitors to Gilmor Glass can watch the process of glassmaking – the melting of the sand and other raw materials, the design and execution of each piece – and come away with unique works of art.
The Gilmors employ a team of artisans who work together using techniques from Czech and Italian to English, Irish and Swedish to design and produce elegant glass in both traditional and contemporary styles. They offer workshops for firsthand experience and can accommodate groups in the studio for glassblowing demonstrations. For more information call (518) 789-8000 or visit www.gilmorglass.com.
At Hudson Beach Glass, located at 162 Main Street in Beacon, visitors will find another amazing selection of handmade art glass and glass jewelry displayed in an artist-run retail gallery and store. Functional objects like bowls, drinking vessels, platters, cakestands, jars, bottles, soap dishes, candlesticks and vases, competing with purely decorative sculptural objects such as colorful glass beads and globe ornaments, will dazzle and delight.
Owned and operated by the team of Jennifer Smith, Michael Benzer and Wendy and John Gilvey, Hudson Beach Glass was honored with the Dutchess County Arts Council’s 24th annual Executive Arts Award in 2010. It hosts weekend workshops and classes in glassblowing and glass beadmaking – some for neophytes as young as 6 years old, who are assisted in making their own colorful personalized glass ornaments. Call (845) 440-0068 or visit www.hudsonbeachglass.com for class schedules, blowing schedules and any further information.