This weekend starts on Thursday…like every weekend should…with a great opportunity for hands-on glasswork. Beginners, as well as artists with experience in glass and copper technique, are invited to create one-of-a-kind glass and copper art at Minnetrista, in Muncie. On August 15, from 6 to 9 p.m., fashion an original glass on copper creation through a process that is both art and science. Participants will build on the basic techniques of copper enameling by designing their own art keepsake using sgraffito, stencil work and then advanced copper enameling techniques. Take your glass memento home to display, wear as a colorful accessory, or to add a touch of elegance to a necklace or keychain. The $40 cost of Glass Workshop: Copper Enameling 2.0. includes all material and expert instruction. For information on this and other Minnetrista workshops, visit the Minnetrista website or call (765) 282-4848. Visit the Muncie Visitors Bureau website to learn about the variety of places to spend the night in this great college town. While you’re at Minnetrista, walk down the street to see the mansions of the Ball brothers – the men behind Muncie’s glass history, the founders of the company that made Ball Canning Jars, and the funders of Ball State University. And speaking of Ball State University, it’s a short drive to enjoy the campus and its David Owsley Museum of Art.
What do the Vatican, Disney World and Barbara Streisand’s house have in common with the Indiana Glass Trail? Find out about the stained glass connection Friday morning when you head northwest to Kokomo and visit the oldest glass manufacturer in the United States. Kokomo Opalescent Glass offers tours only on weekdays and only at 10 a.m. Indiana’s glass history began just outside Kokomo, in 1886, when a group of speculators drilling a well discovered natural gas. The next eight exploratory wells in the area were successful, and Indiana’s glass future was launched. Today, Kokomo Opalescent Glass continues as source for restoration glass. It still has, and mixes, many of the “recipes” that established it as a premier glass manufacturer and continues to add colors and textures for today’s consumers. Its Hot Glass Studio produces a wide range of quality hand-blown and hand-cast glass using its world-famous glass. There, the glass blowers create one-of-a-kind and limited edition functional and sculptural glass objects and rondels. You’ll see it all if you arrive Friday by 10 a.m. Cost for the tour is $5 and includes a gift from the Op Shop.
For 40 years, the Elwood Glass Festival has attracted glass aficionados to Madison County, an area of Indiana with roots in functional and decorative glasswork that are well over 125 years deep. The annual three-day festival begins on the third Friday of August as a tribute to Elwood’s unique, beautifully crafted, hand-blown art-glass, today produced in the community’s two art-glass factories – The House of Glass and Prestige Crystal. Spend the rest of the day Friday at this free event based in Elwood’s Callaway Park, with complimentary bus shuttles to both glass factories, Spencer’s Lapidary, Venus Chocolate Shop, New Day Meadery, and The Historic Elwood Opera House. The event includes carnival rides, more than 300 classic and antique cars as part of the Vintage Rollers Car Show, arts and crafts in a variety of media in addition to glass, collectibles, food, a quilt show, demonstrations, live bands, and more.
Friday evening, head south to Carmel’s Art & Design District. Its nine art galleries are all walkable to each other and interspersed with great shopping and outstanding food. But your specific destination is ArtSplash Gallery, where current Indiana-based glass artists Laura Avery, Ben Johnson, Nancy Keating, Pam Niccum, and Lisa Pelo are exhibiting work. ArtSplash is known for its glass exhibitions, and you won’t want to miss this one. For all the overnight options, visit the Hamilton County Convention and Visitors Bureau, with multiple arts districts available with shopping and dining options.
On Saturday, downtown Indianapolis is a short drive south, and Meridian Street will take you directly from Carmel to the Scottish Rite Cathedral. This magnificent example of neo-gothic architecture, and the largest building in the United States devoted to Freemasonry, is, as you can imagine, home to an extensive collection of stained glass windows. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, the Cathedral offers Saturday tours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Just a couple miles north is Fireworks of Glass, the largest permanent sculpture of blown glass by renowned artist Dale Chihuly. The 43-foot-tall tower rises above a glass ceiling and is the focal point of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. The masterpiece is in the museum’s central atrium, where children and families can circle the ramps and explore it from all sides. Chihuly’s artists blew and installed the tower, which comprises more than 3,200 individually blown, brilliantly colored, two- to four-foot-long pieces of smooth and twisted glass called Horns and Goosenecks.
There is a lot to see and do in Indy, and the options, including great places to stay overnight are here.
On Sunday, stay in Indianapolis but head back to the classroom. At Indy Flame Art, glass artists Samma Parcels and Lisa Atchison will hold open torch from noon to 5:00 p.m., offering FREE one-hour “mini” classes from 1 – 2 p.m., 2 – 3 p.m. and 3 – 4 p.m. Each class will accommodate five people, so to guarantee a spot email your interest now to Lisa (Lisa@indyflameart.com). Walk-ins are welcome, so also feel to drop in and watch, or take a last-minute seat if one is available. “Students” must be 18 years old (for insurance reasons) and should wear cotton clothing, closed toed shoes, and be prepared to tie back long hair. Safety glasses will be provided.