Upcycling Glass with Joe


Reclaimed street light lens & enamel.

Ever wanted to explore the art of kiln formed glass? Artist Joe Drury offers classes from his studio 512 as the Pendleton Art Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. The building is beautiful, and hosts everything from photographers to book artists and ceramicists. You can view galleries and take classes by appointment, or check things out on a Final Friday walk-through. (The next one is April 27, 11a-3p.) Everybody loves easy parking—hello, lot across the street. 🙂

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I met with other poets & scholars (unabashed book nerds) at the studio for a small group class with Joe. We poets sometimes travel out into the world, beyond our classrooms or writing desks, and retreat, workshop, or make art together. Less thinking, more making.

We enter into (mostly silent) dialogue with our work in much the same way we create poems—what KM calls flow in her blog about the same experience. For us, it’s about stretching and doing rather than what we’ll take home, although I’m dying to see what will come out of the kiln.

Joe’s approach is a one shot process to make one-of-a-kind glass, either table-ready or for the wall, bowls, plates, or formed. He uses a technique of kiln fusing glass and enamels into translucent objects that is well suited to the beginner just as well as the experienced artist, so if you have a hankering, don’t let the words glass, kiln, and fired scare you off.

Joe’s probably best well known for his organically shaped bowls, and if you see one you like, he’s not shy about sharing some techniques with you. He’s very open with his materials and advice (as little or as much as you ask for) and his studio is an approachable, easygoing place to hang out, provided shelves and shelves of finished glass bowls don’t make you nervous. The pieces only clink together a little bit as you walk past…

Classes are affordable (really), and added bonuses include: a hand operated elevator that sounds like a dying hippo when someone buzzes for it from another floor, lots of viewable hallway gallery space to check out artworks, artists at work in many media, and a beautiful view of the city from the windows. Just walking into the building offers up a hit of inspiration.

I’ll be sure to post images of our finished pieces when we pick them up from firing.

Upcycled glass & enamels.

Upcycled glass, enamel, & lustre.

All of Joe’s glass is reclaimed from other items, and if you have some glass you’d like to recycle, he just might take it off of your hands. (I believe he said he’s interested in (empty) blue American beer bottles.)

Everything in his studio used to be something else, and he gives it a second (maybe third) life to live as a flame-polished art object.

View Joe’s work on Etsy: Drury Design Art | Website: joedrury.com

Locally, you can find his work in the 5th Street Gallery, 55 West 5th Street, Cincinnati, Ohio.


2 responses to “Upcycling Glass with Joe

    • My pleasure, Joe! It was my first experience with glass on clear glass (as opposed to glaze & enamel on clay). I can’t wait to see what comes out of the kiln. 🙂

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