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Contemporary Craft Wing

The Contemporary Craft wing contains three distinct expansive galleries—two permanent collection galleries and one designated for temporary exhibitions. Artwork by some of the most significant contemporary glass artists and ceramicists from all over the world are on permanent display. Included in these galleries are objects from a long-term loan of twenty-first-century glass from the Isabel Foundation of the Sherwin and Shirley Glass glass collection, gifts of contemporary ceramics from Dr. Robert and Deanna Harris Burger, and works from the museum’s permanent collection.

Glassblowing demonstrations are back!

Saturdays 11a-4p Sundays 1p-4p.

We have a few guidelines:

  • Please wear a mask and practice social distancing by keeping at least three empty seats between your group and other guests.
  • For the safety of our visitors and employees, the FIA has introduced additional health and safety precautions including increased cleanings and a new air filtration system
  • Learn more about Hot Shop programming and special events on Instagram @flintinstituteofarts and @fiaglassworks

For more resources on FIA safety and visitation guidelines, click the green link.

Glassblowing & Flameworking

The Art School’s interior courtyard has been enclosed, creating a classroom and Hot Shop, with stadium-style seating, so visitors can watch glass artists demonstrate various processes. A smaller flameworking studio has been designed to equip students with bench top torches for making three-dimensional sculptures in glass as well as beadwork. 

By combining a comprehensive glassmaking program with an already successful ceramics program, visitors and students will now be able to explore the parallel stories and similar approaches that exist between glass and ceramics. It’s been our experience that when people witness the process of something being made live and then see a finished product of a similar artistic expression in the galleries, they find the answer to the frequently asked question: “How did they do that?” 

McLaren Free Glassblowing Demonstration Days

Join us in the Hot Shop every Saturday and Sunday to see the Art School’s professional glass artists gather molten glass from our 2,100 degree furnace and manipulate the glowing material into elegant forms and vessels. Learn about the techniques used to create many of the works shown in the FIA’s new Contemporary Craft Galleries. 

Saturday demonstrations are offered on the hour from 11:00a–4:00p, Sunday demonstrations are drop-in from 1:00p to 4:00p. First come, first seated.


FIA Art School


Discover the world of Glassblowing at the FIA.

How It's Made | Text Graphic


2100 Degrees of Beauty

Hot Shop

The Art School’s Hot Shop has glassblowing courses, workshops, visiting artists, and free public demonstrations. Glassblowing students will learn to gather molten glass from the 2100-degree furnace, and then manipulate the malleable glass into artistic and functional forms using specialized tools and equipment. The Art School offers a range of one-day introductory workshops as well as multi-week courses in glassblowing.


Delicate Work

Sahar Abdallah Flameworking Studio

Artists use specialized torches to melt rods and tubes of glass into sculptural and functional forms. From beads to small sculptures, flameworkers manipulate heated glass into colorful, refined objects. The Art School offers a range of Flameworking classes, including one-day workshops, full courses, and late-night options. All of this takes place in the Sahar Abdallah Flameworking Studio.

Meet the Faculty

Brent Swanson

Glass Programs Manager

Brent Swanson is a working artist as well as an educator. Swanson infuses his passion for glass working into both the pieces he creates and his classroom approach, in part because he sees glass as a magical medium, one that holds a special place in his heart. His work experience—which ranges from glass factory production to demonstrating glassblowing at Dearborn, Michigan’s Greenfield Village to teaching at his alma mater, College for Creative Studies—is as vast as what he fashions from molten material: elegant stemware, upscale lighting, and indoor/outdoor sculpture, some of which mix in other media, underscoring his education in craft of all kinds. Swanson’s unconventional, innovative approach defines not only his art, but also his attitude toward teaching, leading gallery owners nationwide to display his work.

Email Brent

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