The Gift of Glass

spotted torchMy lady and I love Christmas despite the fact that we’ve made an annual tradition of not being ready for it. So it was a pleasant realization, as we entered Hyland Glass at 721 E. Washington St., that our first step in this year’s decorations would be the creation of a glass-blown tree ornament. We’ve been together for six years, and this was something we’d actually talked about doing on our first Christmas together.

Hyland has been a Louisville business for 13 years with excellent custom work to show and the proud offering for visitors to blow their own glass under careful supervision. They often help people make paperweights; around Easter, they were doing eggs, and last October they were doing pumpkins.

The business found its current location last February on a peaceful stretch of Washington Street – just out of the way of all the hectic construction activity and within walking distance of the Big Four Bridge. Its well-decorated garage structure has plant shaped glass next to the illuminated walls. The entrance is obvious and open as you stroll into the gallery showroom filled with dining items, pebble bowls and skydrops. The well-heated workspace is filled with furnaces emitting that fire-orange glow that feels very welcome in the middle of winter.

blow2After meeting owner/glass artist Casey Hyland, we were led to a tray filled with glass chips of varying color options to fuse with our ornament during its making.

After the molten glass is turned in a 2,400 degree fire, it is kept steady while its maker blows through a mouthpiece at the end of a rubber tube attached to the end of the hollow pole. The inflation of the shiny object is quite a sight. We decided we needed another one for my mom.

After decades of study in the trade through places like the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington and the Corning Museum of Glass in New York, Hyland is glad to share his love of the craft with those of Louisville and beyond.

final“We get a lot of Indiana, Mt. Washington, Valley Station – kind of like on the outskirts,” Hyland says of folks visiting his building. “People come into the big city on the weekend and are looking for something to do.”

Hyland who has a background in architecture is very conscious of development in the area and how it is done, but feels content with his location and its structure’s appearance for Louisville residents. He marvels at his proximity to the ever-growing NuLu area. “You’ve got Play and Copper & Kings, and now the Butchertown Grocery is two-weeks open,” says Hyland. “We have the Thomas Edison House right next door.”

Indeed, this is a great area for individuals or business teams looking for unique opportunities when frequenting all the new arts and entertainment possibilities in this area of downtown. Glass art is a beautiful medium that involves intimidating tools. It’s fun to watch a professional handle it so naturally with the humble attitude that allows visitors to be part of the process. The results of the visit were well worth it too, as the ornaments are quite beautiful.

Now… We need a tree… VT

Hyland Glass can be reached at 502.384.2569 and have an extensive website with information and sales at hylandglass.com.