Create Art at the Third Degree Glass Factory

Back to Article
Back to Article

Create Art at the Third Degree Glass Factory

Credit to Kyra Peper

Credit to Kyra Peper

Credit to Kyra Peper

By Paige Prinster

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Inside an old re-purposed Pontiac dealership situated on Delmar Boulevard, an art gallery occupies a large room. Vibrantly colored glass pieces bring life to the studio. Each piece is unique, just like the community of artists behind them who have decided to call Third Degree Glass Factory their home.

“I just want to stay here,” flameworker Eileen Wade said. “I just want to sleep under a table and spend more time here.”

It all started when the founders of Third Degree, Jim McKelvey and Doug Auer, got a hold of the building 14 years ago. They then began to transform it into the three-studio factory that is known today, which includes flameworking, glassblowing and glass fusing. Individual artists and companies can rent out the studios, but they are mostly used by the artists at Third Degree. One of the factory’s main pieces is the art gallery that can be seen when entering the building, displaying works made in the studios.

“This is all an art form, but it is all very scientific in the way the pieces are created,” staff member Nick Dunne said. “Knowing how to properly work with glass is difficult, and that’s where science comes in for the artists to be able to create these pieces.”

One of the ways the company gives back to their artists is through Third Fridays. On Third Fridays, they hold an open house where visitors can come in for free and watch demonstrations and learn about glass art. Artists can work on clients’ items at Third Friday as a demonstration and it is one of the ways they get paid by Third Degree.

“We are supporting our artists for the needs of our clients,” Dunne said. “It’s a way of giving back.”

The studios are open to the Third Degree artists, which can give their glass workers freedom to create and learn new techniques at their own pace.

“I’m being taken in a more creative direction,” Wade said. “I’m just mad I can’t buy my pieces. I’m able to create ideas that I have in my head in real life.”

The Third Degree artists work together frequently, whether by coming up with ideas for pieces or by instructing one another on how they created one of their pieces. Some of the artists will even give away their art to their fellow artists as one of the ways they give back to each other.

“I’ve never found a community where artists share ideas as much as this one,” Wade said. “This is a real community.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email