The quality of the staff is just as high. The studio employs roughly six full-time glass artists, all of whom have been working and developing their talent for years. “Our glass blowers are very skilled and they take their jobs very seriously. They’re committed and dedicated to the process and to producing the highest quality glass they possibly can,” says Hoffmann. Robert Phillips is one such artist. As Glassworks’ first assistant, Phillips believes the diversity of the work being done at the studio also sets it apart from other galleries. “The studio allows us separate artists to place our own work here so you get a larger variety of work than you would if you were in a studio with one person,” he says. “I think that’s a huge bonus.”
Every summer, Glassworks goes one step further to add more variety. The studio invites visiting artists to work in the hot shop and display their works in the gallery for three-week intervals during July and August. The visiting artists’ stint includes an opening reception where they answer questions from visitors and fellow artists alike and an in-shop demonstration. “It’s a nice way of bringing in different styles and techniques into the studio,” says Hoffmann. “You don’t really get that in your typical gallery setting.” Weiner sees the visiting artists as not just a chance to bring in new talent to the studio, but as an opportunity for the entire staff to continue their own education in glass blowing. “I learn something new every day when I start a project, whether it’s an energy efficiency project or when new artists come in and work here with us and we learn from them,” he says.
As the shop approaches its 20th anniversary, Weiner is already looking to the future. Education of both customers and artists alike will always be at the forefront for Glassworks and Weiner says that the quality of the visitor experience will remain a priority. But the head glassblower would like to set even higher standards for the shops glass creations. “We hope to continue to evolve in the fashion we have been; to continue to make work that is constantly increasing in its excellence, level of sophistication, design sense,” he says. “And also to continue to keep it approachable.”For information on Martha’s Vineyard Glassworks, visit www.mvglassworks.com.