The Glass Academy is a working modern glass studio situated in a tiny industrial enclave in Dearborn. They share the love of glass art and traditional glass blowing methods with the community through hands-on class experiences, demonstrations, and their eclectic 2,000 sq. foot gallery that changes it’s look completely every season. Participants don’t need any experience or artistic ability to try glassblowing. “We encourage everyone to take part, it’s our way of sharing the love of the process in a fun atmosphere that everyone can enjoy,” says Chris.
The expansive gallery shop is a destination stop for tourists around the globe coming to see the growth of Detroit and looking for something fun to do. Plan a few hours to shop the gallery and watch the glass blowers at work. With its roster of family-friendly shows and events throughout the year there is always something new and exciting happening at the Glass Academy. You might even be lucky enough to catch a show as they take their mobile unit on the road to various venues through out the year.
Each event features live demonstrations and loads of original designs to purchase. But if you can’t make it to the studio consider visiting their on-line shopping site on Etsy/Glass Academy. You can visit the Glass Academy Wednesday through Saturday; hours are extended based upon seasonal demand. Private tours can be arranged by calling the studio.
Co-creators and co-founders, Michelle Plucinsky and Chris Nordin opened the public studio in 2004 after moving their private studio from Southwest Detroit to this new location. At that time, the Glass Academy served as an accredited training site for skilled tradespersons wanting to learn neon, stained glass, fused glass, torchwork and glassblowing. It was a venue thru the automotive TAP program that had the studio humming with hobbyists wishing to learn a variety of glass fabrication techniques and methods thru this state’s curriculum, designed by the founders.
After a tough recession in Detroit in 2007, the Glass Academy needed to repurpose itself to stay afloat and in business. They took a hard look at their strengths and decided to cut much of the curriculum, focusing only on glassblowing and one-time students “experiences” going forward. Their method proved successful and today, the studio is alive and well. The expansive gallery, seasonal shows and events, offer an entertainment value to hundreds of Metro Detroiters. The hands-on class experiences offered are unique and exciting. The Glass Academy draws repeat customers each season to try something new, this is the place to find the skilled artisans that will share the love of the process with you.
Most days, the Academy’s hot shop team manufactures glass products designed by the founding artists to sell in the gallery. Business awards and donor gifts, shades for lighting and commissions placed by other artists round out a busy production schedule most weeks. Evenings and weekends are saved for class experiences and private events, while Monday and Tuesday are installation days offsite.