Cleary, glass is beautiful. Stop reading this now and look around. Do you see anything made from glass? Take a second to think of the process of how it was made and the skill behind it, whether it’s an everyday drinking glass or a heavy, richly hued decorative bowl.
Simply put, glass is made from a basic mixture of silica, which comes from fine white sand or pulverized sandstone, sodium bicarbonate and lime.
See it in all its colorful, reflective, sparkling wonder at the Annual International Glass Invitational Awards Exhibition, now at the Habatat Galleries in Royal Oak. Running through Saturday, the display features more than 90 works of glass from around the world and this year is celebrating its 40th International Invitational.
Epiphany Glass in Pontiac throws open the doors to its state-of-the-art glass blowing studio the first Thursday of each month. Artist April Wagner will perform demonstrations and visitors can make a glass flowers for a charge of $50. You can also see glassblowers at work at The Henry Ford's Greenfield Village in Dearborn at various times. And glass lovers will delight at the 18th Annual Clay, Glass and Metal Show in Royal Oak on June 9-10.
One of my favorite glass pieces is a bottle I spotted at a flea market. It reminds me of Kerri Vizena of The Silk Worm, a floral design shop in downtown Rochester Hills. I recently met Vizena at the Royal Park Hotel's Ballroom Bliss event. The annual extravaganza showcases everything from flowers to table linens to culinary trends for brides-to-be and those in the event-planning industry. Vizena had drawn quite a crowd to her display due to her charming collection of vintage glass bottles out of which popped pretty posies in a variety of colors.
If it weren’t for her adventuresome sons, Vizena may never have started her bottle collection.
“My sons unearthed these treasures on the grounds behind our house years ago while playing outside,” said Vizena, who raised her family in nearby Metamora. “They were great explorers.”
Today, clientele from all over enjoy the bounty of the boys’ spoils, as the pretty vessels get a thumbs-up from eco-conscious brides-to-be, event planners and those who adore touches of history throughout their home.
“Some are even from the 1800s,” Vizena shared.
“I know that because a man who’s an expert in antique bottles came into our shop one day and pointed out some of the characteristics of the really old ones.”
Grace Bonney, founder of DesignSponge.com, a wildly popular 8-year-old design blog, also appreciates vintage bottles. Bonney finds all sorts of vintage bottles at flea markets.
“I prefer vintage bottles to new ones because they have such great character and their worn patina is always a great contrast to whatever's inside them,” Bonney said.
Bonney and her colleagues like to add herbs and fruits to different vodkas in the bottles. “We love infused drinks any time of year,” Bonney said, “but particularly in the warmer weather when fresh herbs and fruits are plentiful. They make great gifts and turn a regular dinner into something special.”
You can find glass in high-end galleries and more affordable home-decor shops, including at Pier 1 Imports. Hang, say, a few glass stars in a window (available at Pier 1 Imports) and you've added instant appeal.