Banana Factory turns up the heat with its glass blowing event

Written by on April 22, 2022

Banana Factory turns up the heat with its glass blowing event

By Emma Illick-Frank
April 22, 2022

Dave Smith (left) and Hence Bollinger work together on a glass blowing project. (Photo | WLVR)

Lehigh Valley residents who want to learn about glass blowing now have the opportunity. 

The annual Glass Blast fundraiser at the Banana Factory in Bethlehem on April 22  is showcasing the art of sculpting molten glass into intricate designs.

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Dave Smith, a geologist, educator and artist from Allentown who’s been taking glass blowing classes at the Banana Factory’s studio for four years, will display his glassworks at the event.

“The whole time that we’re working, the glass has to stay above 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit or it’ll crack,” Smith said. “It’s a very improvisational process as you’re going. So I like to refer to it as jazz with magma.”

The studio’s manager, Dennis Gardner, said these days there’s lots of interest in his glass blowing classes now that people are more comfortable with in-person learning.  

“It’s kind of been backlogged,” Gardner said. 

Two years of interested students are eager to start coming back to the studio, “Whether they’ve done it before and they’re looking forward to doing it again, or whether they’re looking forward to trying it out for the first time,” Gardner said. 

He’s hoping the enthusiasm carries over to the Glass Blast fundraiser, which raises money for the Banana Factory. 

Attendees can toast the arts non-profit with drinking glasses made on site, bid on local artwork and watch live glass blowing demonstrations throughout the day-long event.

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