After watching the latest season of Blown Away on Netflix, my kids were thrilled to learn that some glass studios in Indy offer classes for kids. Indiana has a rich glass making history (think Ball jars), and there are a variety of glass options around the state if your kids are interested in learning about glass.
Which glass experience is best for your kids?
Glass fusing is a good fit for children ages 8 and older, as it does not involve heat. In glass fusing, glass pieces are arranged on a flat base. Edges may be sharp, so be aware of your kids’ fine motor skills before deciding if this activity will be a good fit. Most glass blowing studios require kids to be at least 10 years of age. Glass blowing involves working with extremely hot glass and following multi-step directions. Please note some studios have specific age requirements.
Where to Create with Glass
We started our glass adventure at Indy Fused Glass followed by a class at Glass Arts Indiana, both housed at the Circle City Industrial Complex .
Indy Fused Glass
1125 Brookside Avenue – Unit C5, Indianapolis
Meredith Frey, owner of Indy Fused Glass, provided a wonderful introduction to glass fusing. We arrived a few minutes early to look around the shop for inspiration. From colorful glass jewelry to Indiana shaped ornaments, it was fun to see the possibilities of glass work.
After signing a waiver, we learned about our options for pieces. Meredith gave hands-on demonstrations on how to use the tools and explained basic techniques. She also was available for questions and walked around the stations, providing assistance when needed. Fusing involves placing pieces of colored glass on a flat glass base. Unlike glass blowing, there was no heat involved during class. Instead, pieces are heated in a kiln after class, and picked up at a later date.
You can create your own design or use one of the templates available at the studio. Thanks to the instruction, we felt confident using the tools and experimenting with different types of glass. Glass fusing is a great choice for kids ages 8 and older. My kids enjoyed designing their own artwork, using tools, being independent, and creating their first piece of glass art. It is free to visit the studio and pieces are available in the shop for purchase. Classes are held throughout the week and on Saturdays. To book a class, register online, and select ‘pay there,’ for a discounted price. Classes start at $40 per participant.
Glass Arts Indiana
1125 Brookside Avenue – Unit C25, Indianapolis
Indy’s newest glassblowing studio and gallery is home to a community of emerging and established glass artists. Glass Arts Indiana (GAI) offers a variety of classes for kids ages 10+ including paperweights, pulled sculpted flowers, and blown ornaments. We walked through the studio to meet the artists and see examples before deciding which class to select. The artists are wonderful with kids, answering questions, and teaching them about tools and techniques. During open studio hours, chairs are set up for visitors to watch the artists at work.
My oldest son participated in a pulled sculpted flower class with artist Kenton Pratt. I registered and paid through the website and completed the waiver on-site. At the start of class, Kenton reviewed safety guidelines, introduced tools, taught techniques, and made a demonstration piece. He then provided guidance as each participant worked with their glass. It was amazing to see the skills that developed over the duration of the class. At the end of the class, confidence was higher for working in front of a 2100 degree furnace, using a blowtorch for the first time, and having a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork to remember the experience. Prices for class vary from $50 to $65 depending on the artwork selected. Please refer to GAI website for details and to register for class.
GRT Hot Glass Studios
6400 Brookville Road- Suite D, Indianapolis
GRT Hot Glass Studios offers glass blowing and glass fusing classes. Instructors guide through studio basics and safety then give a demonstration on the selected piece. Participants choose colors and sculpt molten glass into beautiful and unique creations. Artwork is available to pick up a few days after class. Class prices start at $15 for glass fusing and $55 for glass blowing.
Indianapolis Art Center
820 East 67th Street, Indianapolis
Located in Broad Ripple, the Indianapolis Art Center offers a variety of art classes for kids and adults. For those looking for glass classes, the Art Center has glass fusing and glass blowing during Make It Take It days, summer camp, and weekly class times.
Make It Take It options include paperweights, birds, fused sushi plates, ornaments, and more. Check the website for class age requirements, as some are for ages 10 years and older and others specify 18 years and up.
Weekly classes begin in the fall and teach students about the hot shop. Kids ages 10 and older will learn about proper tool use, explore the glass studio, and learn basic glassblowing techniques.
Bloomington Creative Glass Center
229 W. Grimes Land, Bloomington
The Bloomington Creative Glass Center (BCGC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing affordable, high quality education about glass to southern Indiana. The center is open to anyone with an interest in glass, regardless of age or experience. If you have a child under the age of 13, BCGC asks that an adult stays with the child during the class.
The BCGC offers glass fusing and blowing. They also provide at home kits, with a different project featured each week. Plan a visit for the first Saturday of the month to check out their hands-on art experiences. One recent Saturday experience included creating exploding tie-dye shirts. Information about classes and kits can be found on their website and social media sites.
Indiana’s glass history dates back to 1886, with the discovery of natural gas in Howard County. The Indiana Glass Trail explores the state’s glass past and present by connecting five counties, linking artists and glass-related attractions. Along the family-friendly trail, visitors can find artist studios, blown glass demonstrations, glass-focused festivals, glass museums, and classes. Discover what Indiana has to offer in the form of glass.
Know Before You Go
Glass blowing studios get hot, so dress accordingly. Cotton t-shirts, denim, and closed toe shoes are recommended. No sandals, shorts, or synthetics. Bring water to drink and sunglasses. Artwork is typically picked up at a later date.
Glass art is a unique way to express creativity. We enjoyed exploring studios, meeting artists, and learning to make our own glass pieces. Have you tried glass fusing or glass blowing with your kids? If so, we would love to hear about your experience in the comments.