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At Aaron Thane Tate Glassworks, Students Find a Love of Glass

By S. Mathur

The lost art of glassmaking is alive and well in Dallas. The Aaron Thane Tate Glassworks studio was founded by a father and son team of architects.

"A love of glass prompted them to build the extensive equipment it takes to make a glass shop," owner Aaron Tate said, "They tend to blow glass on Saturdays since forever, working during the week at their architectural firm. I however, am here all during the week as glass is my sole profession."

Tate was first attracted to glass blowing when he was just eighteen years old, and he has been learning ever since.

"Since that time I have never left the glass shop," he said. "Learning constantly, as I worked in factories and for artists, during a long career in Seattle Washington. I make all types of glass, being a craftsman, artisan, sculptor, and teacher."

Tate speaks modestly about his work, but he is widely known and respected as a skilled glass artist. The goblets are museum quality and the studio's portfolio includes sculpture, functional pieces and installations such as chandeliers. Tate has been a guest artist at the Tacoma Museum of Glass and a visiting artist at several other glass studios. His work is sought after by collectors and his glass sculptures are featured in collections across North America as well as Japan and Australia.

Tate enjoys sharing his love of glassmaking as well as his skills, and finds teaching fulfilling. His classes are open to students ranging in age from five to 99 years old, and span all skill levels from beginners to long term regulars. Beginners classes meet at the studio three days a week. The glassmaking process begins with gathering molten clear glass from the furnace. Color is added according to design. Students can choose from about 10 different shapes, like a bowl, garden ball, or Christmas ornament. They can also make marbles, paperweights, basic vase shapes, or pumpkins.

The glass must not be allowed to get too cold or too hot, as it will crack or break, in the first case, and lose its shape in the second, collapsing or dripping on to the floor.

"We are turning constantly keeping a piece 'on center'," Tate said, "Making a piece out of glass is similar to throwing pottery on a wheel, the constant turning, if done correctly, makes a fine shape that is 'on center'."

It takes 20-30 minutes to make a proper piece. Tate says that although making glass is difficult and takes a lifetime to master, it is also extremely fulfilling and fun. Students would agree completely. For those who have taken the workshop and want to continue learning, there are long term lessons that meet once a week for two hours each time.

For more info visit Aaron Tate online.

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