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COCA Spotlight: Jeff Hormuth “Studio opens doors for ‘magic trick’ of glassblowing”

By: Amanda Sieradzki, COCA | April 16, 2018

Glassblower, Jeff Hormuth loves to see his students’ faces light up. As a teacher in his newly minted Magnolia Glass Studio, he is moving past a crossroads in his career.

Sidelined with eye complications from working with glass for 23 years, Hormuth dedicated the past five years to building his dream studio, which opened at the start of the new year. Seeing the studio as an artistic pursuit, he designed the space with the hope of making a destination for glass artists and community members to come together.

With no pre-existing pamphlet or blueprints, he tore down and built up the studio, and relied heavily on trial and error. The completed studio boasts eight rental booths, two glass lathes, a dedicated tool area, an oxygen-generating machine, and a place to mix raw glass colors.

At the center of it all is an octagonal table available for renters and students coming to take classes. It’s also the spot where Hormuth gathers attendees at Magnolia Glass’ Third Thursday Open Studio events, with the next one happening on Thursday, April 19.

“I’ve tried to make a studio where all the tools are there for anyone coming in that’s interested,” says Hormuth, who is proud to see his final construction.

Hormuth became enamored with glass objects on a visit to Washington, D.C., as a kid. Wide-eyed he asked the former U.S. Senator and Florida Governor, Lawton Chiles if he couldhave the paperweight that sat on his desk, which was met with a smile and a polite no. However, it would be many years before he and his passion for artistic objects would come together again.

He followed the band The Grateful Dead to the west coast before settling in Oregon where he encountered glass again. This time, he pursued it under the mentorship of a close network of glassblowers. He says that while there wasn’t as much scholarship or as many classes on glassblowing in the U.S. as there is today, much of Hormuth’s skills were selftaught and learned from hours of watching and working with other glassblowers.

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