Creativity Blows Out the Glass at GatherHouse – Frisco, Colorado

Up in the small mountain town of Frisco, there’s a small shop where an ancient art form and modern aesthetics meet — and passersby can take part in the result.

Sitting a few miles outside the ski mecca of Breckinridge, Frisco is the Colorado home of GatherHouse – the studio and gallery for artist and master glassblower John Hudnut.

The internationally trained and experienced Hudnut creates his own mix of household, functional glassware and more eccentric fine art creations out of GatherHouse. Anyone wandering around Frisco’s modest main street can tuck in to watch him at work.

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More importantly, those visitors might be invited to take part because — whether as official in-class students or intrigued tourists — anyone can take part in the glass creations that emerge from GatherHouse every day. Hudnut teaches courses for beginners, guides apprentices and welcomes in wanderers to spread his wisdom on creating beautiful fused silica.

The work might involve forging useful home items like bowls or cups or purely artistic efforts like abstract sculptures or decorative pieces. Regardless, blowing glass demands a mix of patience, urgency, delicacy, and strength. The act of making glass items also requires constant caution as extreme heat is a constant workshop factor. Glass becomes malleable north of about 1,300 degrees, so anyone working in the shop must be carefully aware at all times.

During a class, Hudnut is both teacher and coach — demonstrating techniques and giving orders. Creating glass can be a team effort, with one artist working the furnace, one blowing, one shaping, etc. Throughout the learning experience, Hudnut handles the more dangerous and difficult stages — but he allows students to get involved in all aspects of his work.

The hospitality of Hudnut – blended with the atmosphere and resources of GatherHouse – perfectly demonstrate the burgeoning, yet humble art scenes you’ll find in the Colorado mountain cities and resorts like Frisco, Breckenridge, and Aspen. The artists are serious and skilled, but they offer a generous and welcoming energy. The creators are open to teaching others who wish to create.

If you can’t get up to Frisco easily, you can get a look at some of the lessons found within the glassblowing process in the gallery below.

All photos by John Scott Lewinski