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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Get Blown Away at High Gravity Glassworks


Glassworks owner Michelle Pennington.

High Gravity Glassworks officially opened its current location at 1120 Texas Avenue the last week of February after previously being located inside Red River Brew Pub. The studio spreads out in a spacious and sleek space with soaring ceilings and ample room for display, which immediately draws you in. A wall of glass lines the entire front of the store, allowing natural light to stream in and find its way to every gleaming piece of vibrant glass artistry.

The space is divided, with the front showcasing everything from vases to mushrooms to a beguiling tree of opulent orbs. Hummingbird feeders hang everywhere, beautifully catching the light, along with mini plant-watering glass flowers tucked into buckets, becoming exquisite glass bouquets; all that and T-shirts, too! There is a gift idea for everyone on your list. While it is a visual treat to visit the shop, they also offer online shopping and gift cards.

The shop’s walls are also lined with fabulous and varied artwork. Michelle Pennington, the owner of High Gravity Glassworks, greatly supports local artists and Shreveport. “Since I have the wall space and get locals that come to my studio and so many tourists, I’m trying to spread the love to other artists and help boost their sales,” she said. “I’m also speaking to the artists about printing their art on postcards to help put Shreveport on the map as a great place to visit with fun things to do.”

The second space, divided by a bank of windows, houses the workshop. Immediately upon stepping into the cavernous room, you notice the rise in temperature given the massive oven where magic is in the making. There is a sense of reverence in this place.

You certainly respect the safety precautions but are immediately enthralled by this ancient art form playing out in front of you. Michelle knows that feeling all too well. “I first discovered glassblowing during my last semester in college at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. I took it as one of my last electives for my degree in fine art specializing in graphic design and never looked back.” Michelle has been practicing glassblowing for 15 years, graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington with an MFA specializing in glass.

Works of art are created in the workshop.

The workshops appeal to a wide variety of groups, everything from bachelor and bachelorette parties to birthdays and team-building. The workshops are limited to 10 people unless geared toward suncatchers or Christmas ornaments. These can accommodate up to 20, and they fill up fast. “We have tons of repeat customers that have supported us for all three years. Plus, we are becoming known as a tourist destination,” said Michelle. I get a lot of customers from the DFW area who are coming to Shreveport specifically for my studio and other tourists who plan their vacations and add Shreveport as a stop so they can blow glass on their way to their vacation and then pick up their work on their way home.”

Are you thinking of channeling your inner Chihuly and becoming a professional glassblower? You’re in good hands at High Gravity Glassworks. They offer an eight-week course, three hours per week, with a maximum of two students. In this course, you’ll learn safety procedures, tool knowledge and how to form basic shapes, blow bubbles, sculpt shapes like fish and create blown forms such as cups and small vases. After course completion, students can rent studio time to further hone their skills.

In addition to the hands-on opportunities and the fantastic gift selection, some specialty art options are available. Couples soon to go down the aisle are invited to select glass crystals in colors that represent them, which are incorporated into their wedding ceremony. After the wedding, High Gravity Glassworks transforms these crystals into a forever work of art.

Memorial art options and many gift items can be found at High Gravity Glassworks.

Memorial art options provide a unique way to incorporate and secure your loved one’s ashes into a beautiful and memorable piece of artwork.

You can choose from a stunning glass orb or heart. Custom pieces are also available.

Michelle has many plans for the studio.

“My goals include renting out the event space for events regularly, hiring another experienced glassblower to maximize glassblowing workshops and teaching opportunities, [having] an events team to sell artwork at local and regional events, [doubling] my class size to continue spreading the love of glass to new glassblowers, and [allowing] myself more time to explore my specialty, which is sculpting. I love that I get to share my passion with the Shreveport-Bossier City area, and I look forward to a lifetime of creative ventures in glass here in Shreveport.”

High Gravity Glassworks is located at 1120 Texas Ave., Shreveport. Its hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2-6 p.m., and Friday/Saturday,10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There are several time slots for workshops. Find out more at highgravityglassworks.com or call 318-582-1424. They can also be found on Facebook and Instagram.


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