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Top Spots For Glass Art In Philadelphia

2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the American Studio Glass Movement, where it was discovered that glass could be used as an artistic medium, not just as a material to be mass produced in factories. Glassblowing has taken off as an art form, with no fewer than 20 schools offering degree programs in the U.S. Philadelphia is home to some excellent programs; Temple University's Tyler School of Art offers a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Glass and University of the Arts offers a post-graduate degree. It's no wonder that our area has some of the best glass shops and studios in the country.
East Falls Glassworks

East Falls Glassworks
3510 Scotts Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19129
(215) 908-7924

East Falls Glassworks, near Manayunk, has something for everyone: group or private classes, studio space that can be rented for more experienced glassblowers, a gallery with amazing pieces of art for sale and an extremely knowledgeable and patient staff. East Falls Glassworks welcomes the public to come in and watch glassblowing in action. Schedule your next girls' night out here, or sharpen your skills one-on-one with a private lesson. A one-day workshop is about $240 (supplies included) and private lessons can run about $120 per hour.

Glass Bead Studio

Glass Bead Studio
2245 Grays Ferry Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(215) 546-3735

The Glass Bead Studio features the mesmerizing art of glass artist Paul Spencer. It is the only studio of its kind, dedicated to the art of handmade glass beads, handmade lamp-work beads and artisan glass beads. His eclectic jewelry (which can also be purchased through the website and his Etsy store, PaulBead) is so dazzling that you'll wish you could create something like it. Fortunately, you can! Spencer offers classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced glassblowing students ($40 per hour and up). Fans love the Make Your Own workshops, where you can create your own piece of colorful glass jewelry while learning the art. All materials are provided with the $75 class fee.

Related: Top Photography Galleries In Philadelphia

Bernard Katz

Bernard Katz Glass
3739 Sharp St
Philadelphia, PA 19127
(215) 482-1991

Bernard Katz studied sculpture and glassblowing at Temple's Tyler School of Art. After graduating, he spent some time studying in England, then came back stateside and worked under some big names in glass. Now, his glass art can be seen in high-end hotels and restaurants in Philadelphia. It can also be seen in your dining room if you visit his Manayunk studio and fall in love with his gorgeous, almost ethereal sculptures, bowls, vases and tumblers. As you might expect, the prices for Katz's pieces are wide-ranging: $125 will buy you a gorgeous, richly-colored bowl and for $30, you can get a one-of-a-kind ornament.

Liberty Museum
(credit: Liberty Museum/Facebook)

National Liberty Museum
321 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 925-2800

"Glass art is the centerpiece of the National Liberty Museum," so says the museum's webpage. If that seems a little unexpected, maybe that's because this Old City museum isn't at all what you would expect. Yes, there are patriotic displays and red, white and blues, but the liberty on display here is more global. Think Anne Frank and Nelson Mandela. The centerpiece is famed glass artist Dale Chihuly's huge (20 feet tall) "Flame of Liberty," a dramatic piece with deep scarlet spirals and tendrils that reminds visitors that "liberty is fragile." The museum also has a permanent exhibit of Chihuly's work. And with many events ongoing, the National Liberty Museum is a favorite among glass aficionados and collectors. A trip to the museum shop is a must as well, because you can purchase gorgeous pieces of glass art in the form of jewelry, vases and gifts.

Beyer Studio

Beyer Stained Glass
4813-23 Wayne Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19144
(215) 848-3502

The glass workers at Beyer studio spend most of their time in rescue. They save historically important, stained-glass windows from all over the world by repairing damage, matching colors for missing pieces and/or reconstructing entire panels. It's a long, painstaking process that sometimes takes many months and uses ample manpower, but the results are remarkable. When a sacred window is restored to its former glory (or even better!), it can even be an emotional experience. Seeing the interest private homeowners have in stained glass, Beyer studio now creates these amazing works of art for non-commercial use (starting at around $1500). Be sure to check out the website to find tons of pictures of the work, educational videos and even a live feed, so you can watch the day-to-day operations.

Trish Deitemyer is a freelance writer living in Philly. She covers Food & Drink and has been writing since 1986. Her work can be found at

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