Meet the Maker: Corey Silverman of The Furnace: a Glassworks

The Furnace: a Glassworks studio is known for decorative, sculptural and functional hot glass art represented by over 100 galleries and private collections across the country. In addition to creating their own work, they offer an array of glass blowing classes that incorporate introductory to advanced techniques at the furnace, as well as at the torch.

Let's start at the beginning. When did you discover you wanted to work with glass?

At Alfred University when I went for my BFA. I was planning to focus on 2D, (drawing) realism. Alfred has a very well-known glass program (it's one of the top glass-art programs in the country) and when I got there, I found myself watching the activity in the hotshop at every opportunity. For a year and a half, I observed the glassblowers in action--then dove in myself.

When did you decide to set roots in Denver?

I'd grown up in Virginia, and with relatives in New York, spent most of my childhood along the East Coast. So after a few jobs at East Coast glass studios--and a season working in the restaurant of The American Queen (a paddle boat on the Mississippi)--I took some time to travel and camp in the western half of the country. After California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah, I landed in Colorado and fell in love... with the place... and with a girl (who is now my wife and business partner.)

Have you ever made a piece that you refused to part with?

No. I remember reading that if you make a piece and you love it, you need to let it go. My personal belief is that I put energy and creativity into the work I make, and if I truly feel great about a piece, what benefit is served by keeping it closed up in my studio? Someone else should have an opportunity to interact with the result of that energy and creativity. And then I can make space for a new stream of energy and creation.

What is your favorite thing about your workspace?

To make my work, I need access to a hotshop: a big pot of molten glass (it's constantly at 2000+ degrees), a workbench filled with tools that look a little medieval, a glory hole (basically, an oven running at 2200 degrees) and an annealer where the work can be safely cooled to room temperature over the span of 24-36 hours. And a coldshop with cutting, grinding, and polishing tools. As you might imagine, it's not the kind of equipment that can live just anywhere, and finding a studio that rents out time to other artists isn't easy. I'm incredibly grateful to have my own hotshop and coldshop where I can work regular hours* and be my own boss. It's a place where I can feel comfortable being creative, where I can feel comfortable making (and learning from) my own mistakes. It's a space where we've fostered a learning experience not only for our students but for ourselves.

*As an aside, because of my experience--being fascinated watching glass when I first went to art school, then struggling to find places to make my art as a side gig--I've chosen to make mine a public-access hotshop. We invite people curious about the material to visit our studio and to take classes with us; we also allow glassblowers with more experience to rent our facility in our 'off' hours.

What characteristic do you admire most in other makers?

Openness. It's really easy for us as creatives to feel protective of our work, our processes, our thinking, our highs and lows. Sometimes we can let the protectiveness veer into secretiveness. But there are plenty of makers and artists I've met who are gracious and humble and so very willing to share their experience and their advice. We find that sharing--whether its ideas on how to solve a problem or the highs and lows of being a creative in business--tremendously valuable and we thank every fellow artist who has been generous towards us with their time and knowledge. It serves as a great reminder that what we get to do, being artists and makers, is a challenging endeavor, but a really special one too.

Meet Corey and see his beautiful creations at our Firefly Handmade Fall Market, this weekend, on the world famous Pearl Street Mall!

To see more from her collections, visit:

https://www.furnaceglassworks.com/

https://www.facebook.com/furnaceglassworks

https://www.instagram.com/furnaceglassworks/

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