Richard Royal demonstration at Seattle Glass Blowing Studio from Refract 2021 Megan Swann Photography

Heart of Glass

In this epicenter of glass art, prepare to be blown away.

The steady pffft of flames fills the air at Seattle Glassblowing Studio (2227 Fifth Ave), where artists dip raw glass into 1,900-degree furnaces before shaping each molten gob into a delicate piece of art. It’s a common scene in the Puget Sound region—home to more glass artists and studios than anywhere in the US—and one that everyone can experience.

Richard Royal demonstration at Seattle Glass Blowing Studio from Refract 2021 Megan Swann Photography

Admire some of the finest works in the world at several glass-focused galleries and museums. Downtown’s prestigious Traver Gallery (110 Union St, Ste 200) showcases contemporary works from the likes of Preston Singletary, Nancy Callan, Dante Marioni, and Ginny Ruffner. The owners also operate Vetri (1404 First Ave S), which presents glass art as well as ceramics, jewelry, and other media. Just 30 miles south of Seattle, the Museum of Glass (1801 Dock St, Tacoma) spotlights everything from fused to pulled glass in rotating exhibits, while its working hot shop regularly hosts live glassblowing demonstrations.

A Seattle glass tour wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Seattle Center institution Chihuly Garden and Glass (305 Harrison St). The galleries, Glasshouse, and gardens encompass the most comprehensive collection of Chihuly’s works, from sculptural Venetians to a dramatic, 100-foot-long overhead installation. Bonus: Find 25 works from Dale Chihuly’s personal collection at The Bar at Chihuly Garden and Glass, which serves stellar cocktails and a classic menu of Italian–meets–Pacific Northwest fare.

Ready to try the art form yourself? Seattle Glassblowing Studio and a handful of other outfits, like Blowing Sands Glass (5805 14th Ave NW) and Schack Art Center (2921 Hoyt Ave, Everett) offer DIY workshops, with plenty of expert guidance, so you can make your own glass art souvenir. Meanwhile, shops like Glasshouse Studio (311 Occidental Ave S), Glass Eye Studio (76 Pike St and in SEA Airport), and glassybaby (several locations) sell glass creations, from colorful votives to intricate vases, to take home as gifts—or to keep (we won’t tell).

For more ways to explore, download the free Glass Art Guide to Seattle and the Puget Sound Region, and if you’re here in mid-October, attend Refract, the city’s premier annual glass festival.


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