Glass Studio

Penland Glass Program

The Penland glass program offers beginning to advanced workshops in traditional and contemporary methods. The studios provide space and specialty equipment for the exploration of concept and technique in glass. The scope of each workshop is determined by the instructor with input from our program director and support from our programming staff. Our versatile facility and high caliber artist/educators allow us to provide relevant programming in topics from glass blowing, cold working, and flameworking to mixed media sculpture and everything in between. We strive for a balance of technical and aesthetic content and value all cultural and historical perspectives. We offer workshops that inspire and challenge students from curious beginners to accomplished professionals. Our programming is current in spirit and respectful of craft traditions.

The studios are very flexible, but are particularly well equipped for hot glass, flameworking, cold working, casting, and warm glass. The range of workshop topics includes but is not limited to mixed media sculpture, hot glass sculpting, video and installation art, collaboration and team work, functional vessels, cane and murrine, kiln casting, moldmaking, printing on glass, painting on glass, beadmaking, flameworking, pâte de verre, slumping, and fusing. Materials and techniques are combined in a myriad of ways, and instructors often ground technical exploration with conversations about historic and/or current context, design, or idea generation. Recent instructors include: Nancy Callan, Daniel Clayman, Mark Peiser, Giles Bettison, Marc Petrovic, David Walters, Ethan Stern, Alicia Lomné, Sarah Blood, Einar and Jamex de la Torrre, Carmen Lozar, Ché Rhodes, Karen Willenbrink, Jason Johnsen, Amy Lemaire, Jiyong Lee, Richard Whitely, Nadege Desgenetez, Sugiki Boyd, and Raven Skyriver, among many others.

Our workshops take place in well-equipped, well-maintained, and safe glass studios designed to accommodate diverse content and working styles. There are blow slots for each student in the hot shop, tables and torches for each student in the flameworking studio, a cold working shop, a moldmaking space, a classroom, and covered outdoor work and meeting spaces.

Hot Glass Studio

The Penland hot shop has two day tankfurnaces each yielding over 700 pounds of Spruce Pine Batch and a color furnace with two 80 lb pots available when needed for the class. There are 7 annealers, 10 casting kilns, 2 pick-up ovens, 2 pipe warmers, 2 large marver tables, and 1 garage. Please feel free to bring your own tools and pipes. The studio has pipes, punties, hand torches, and tools such as jacks, straight shears, diamond shears, tweezers, tagliols, soffiettas, blocks, paddles, pacioffis, and casting supplies for students to use while taking a class. Know that these are shop tools and there is wear and tear apparent on most of them. The studio will accommodate 14 students per class in its 3 work stations, each with its own bench, Wet Dog glory hole (with gas-booster pedal for reduction and automatic temperature control), rolling yoke, and knock-off buckets. The class will rotate through these 3 stations on a daily schedule.

The hot shop is open from 6am until 12am, so depending on the class you may work very early or very late. Come with a flexible agenda for your work schedule. Each student will have approximately 2 to 2-1/2 hours per blow slot time Monday thru Saturday. Your blow slot plus class, demos, assisting, and cold work makes up a full day in the studio.

Click here for a 360° panoramic view of the hot glass studio.

Flameworking Studio

The Penland flame studio has 10 work stations with Carlisle CC torches, hand torches, and Minor torches for soft glass classes. This studio can accommodate 9 students per class with an individual station for each student. This studio is open 24 hours a day with the approval of the instructor of your class and a two-person rule during late night hours. Work schedules vary from class to class, so come with an open mind for scheduling. There are 4 front loading kilns and 5 desktop kilns for bead classes. Students have access to larger kilns in our casting area. Students have lockable storage space so feel free to bring your own tools. You may also rent out tool boxes, which have many of the tools needed for your class. Flame working students have their own table and chair in the flame studio with the Carlisle or Minor torch and hand torch at each station.

Cold Working Studio

The Penland cold shop houses a large stainless steel basin sink, 1 large variable speed grit grinding wheel, 2 magnetic diamond disk variable speed grinding wheels, a large Felker wet saw, a small murrini saw, 2 belt sanders, 2 variable speed lathes, a water-fed drill press and a Foredam (flex shaft) engraving station with 2″ and 4″ pneumatic water-fed angle grinder hookups. There are 2 large tables in the cold shop to accommodate multiple users.

Supplies and Materials

The school will supply the clear hot glass for the hot shop classes, which is a shared material. (Hot glass tuition covers the clear glass out of the furnace.) The glass for the flame classes is for sale in the glass studio. Penland is located very near Spruce Pine Batch, so you may purchase colored glass once you arrive for the hot shop classes. The flame studio usually has some donated color for students to try and a large selection available to buy. Most supplies for your classes will be for sale in the studio.

Toolkits (if applicable)

The flame studio has great toolkits for rent. Flameworking students will need a $100 deposit and a $10 rental fee to check out the kit. The deposit will be returned when your kit is checked back in good working order. The studio assistant will go over all the tools with each student and fill out the correct paperwork. The student is responsible for the kit, and any damaged or lost items must be replaced before the deposit will be refunded.


There are 2 class areas at the glass studio. The inside classroom has 8 large tables, open shelving units, and storage bins. The outside area is covered by a roof but is open air with 5 very large tables and outlets for power. This space is great for working on smelly or messy projects. Both classes share both of these areas, so it is important to respect the space and keep it neat. Some classes split the space, which works really well. There is a stereo in each studio, so bring an open mind for listening to different kinds of music and feel free to bring your CDs or iPods. There is a small refrigerator in the studio to keep drinks cold and a coffee maker for those early morning people.


There is unlocked storage for all students in both studios and additional storage in the shared classrooms. Locked storage is available for flame students.

Safety Information

There is a mandatory safety walk-through at the beginning of every class. The walk-through is to introduce you to the studio space and to show you the safety equipment. There are 2 first aid kits (one in each studio), a safety shower in between, and an eye wash station. Personal safety equipment such as glasses, dust masks, gloves, and close-toed shoes are the students’ responsibility. You must have these items in order to work in the studio, so you may want to bring these items from home or you may purchase them from the store. You should refer to your instructor’s material list for specifics about safety equipment needed for the class.

Alcohol is not permitted in the studio; working while intoxicated is also prohibited.

Shared Studio Equipment

Some classes like to share both studio spaces, and some classes are so different that they have to work separately. If you are interested in working outside your class, please speak to the assistant or the coordinator to see if something may be arranged.

Shared air space/music: Each class should discuss the playing of music and reach a consensus on the time of day, the volume, and the type of music to be played. Tolerance and consideration are expected from everyone.

If you wish to use equipment in other studios during your session, you must contact the studio coordinator or studio assistant of that particular studio first. If permission is granted, then you must work with the instructor, studio assistant, and studio coordinator of that studio to arrange access. They will determine if the desired usage is compatible with their class’s activities and if you are able to work safely and independently with the equipment.

Session Schedule

Each session starts with an all-school meeting Sunday evening at 5pm followed by dinner in the Pines. Classes start Sunday at 8:30pm. Classes end and studio clean-up takes place the day before your session ends. The last day of each session is reserved for farewells and an all-school exhibition of work created during your time at Penland.

Everyone must participate in studio clean-up; if you must leave early, please ask the studio assistant to assign you clean-up tasks you can accomplish before your departure.

If you have questions, contact:
Studio Coordinator: Nick Fruin
Phone Number: 828-765-5507
E-mail Address: