RACINE, WI (CBS 58) -- Racine is seeing its own Renaissance. For example, an old building on Wisconsin Avenue used to be a lithography company, and now the old gem has a new sparkle to it.
Inside, you'll find beautiful and delicate works of art.
The stunning visuals of glassblowing can captivate the mind, heart and soul. It's an ancient art form that's captured Amanda Paffrath's creativity for the last forty years.
She is the Co-Owner of Hot Shop Glass, which opened in 2005. Now, she works to shatter the glass ceiling of creativity.
"We're celebrating 17 years this year. We were a group of four glass artists that had a vision to create a studio where we could make our own work."
That work includes more than glassblowing. Paffrath says they added an entire glass fusing studio just a few years ago. Jill Schlidt teaches the classes.
"I started with an explorer workshop class where I made a paperweight and it turned out really cool and I fell in love with glassblowing and I've been here ever since. You take a flat piece of glass and you cut and layer it. You put it in the big kiln and it fuses and melts together nice and smooth. This is glass people have cut already but we can reuse that so someone's mistake is someone's treasure to use," said Schlidt.
This includes treasures of all shapes, colors and sizes.
It's a craze spreading throughout southeast Wisconsin.
"Our business has gone crazy since COVID!"
The studio is booked up for months at a time. Something that excites Amanda, who now cherishes sharing her passion with others.
"The part that I love is sort of the confidence that people get facing something that scared them at First and then brought them joy and empowerment. People are intimidated because the material is so hot and dangerous it looks like lava. Usually, people's eyes get bigger and bigger but now that we have terrified you we're going to really have some fun," said Paffrath.
Right now, the studio is making glass pumpkins in their classes. So, we decided to try it out for ourselves! And make the fall favorite from start to finish.
And the Fairy Godmother of Glass has one wish for anyone visiting the shop.
"I want them to check out all Racine has to offer. We are really a hidden gem and I want them to gain an interest in exploring the community we have chosen to land in."
Upcoming pumpkin events with Hot Shop Glass:
First Fridays demonstrations 9/2 4-8pm
Party on the pavement
Imagine alley pumpkin show
Minnesota arb glass pumpkin patch
Glass blowing demonstrations & glass pumpkin sale
Chaska, MN. 9/9-9/11/22
Morton arboretum glass pumpkin patch
Exhibit and demonstrations only 10/12-10/14/22
Sale opens noon 10/14 – 10/16. Demonstrations daily