Inside Chad Davis’ spellbinding glassblowing process

This artist is one of many featured at Field + Supply, the modern craft show taking place this week in Kingston, New York. Learn more about Field + Supply (and purchase tickets) here.

For Chad Davis, working with glass is a rewarding practice. Not only is the material a wonder to play with, but the end products – craft beer glasses, mixing bowls, cheese domes, and decanters – are all items he knows people really love to use.

Based in Woodstock, New York, Davis has been blowing glass since he started his company Catskill Glassworks in 2017 after paying off the last of his college loans. He works from Woodstock Art Scholarship, a community glassblowing workshop that he can access when he needs it. From the time he started blowing glass until now, the glasses he made have changed dramatically and he continues to perfect his craft.

Every piece begins the same way: as California raw material melted in the oven. Similar to the shape of an ice cube at first, the material is placed in the oven at around 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit and is usually enough to make glass products for an entire week. When manufacturing a glass product, Davis does not use any molds. “They’re all just trained using the tools I have in my hands and the shape of a newspaper,” he says. “No two glasses are the same, and even if I try, everyone is a little different in size and proportion.”

Once all the tools are in place to make a piece of glass, Davis prepares the molten material using a steel bulb tube. He applies color if he wants to make a colored piece, then the bottom half of the glass is stretched out first. When everything is shaped, another steel pipe is used to allow work on the opposite end of the part. The finished part is then placed in an annealing furnace to cool slowly for at least 12 hours – if it cools too quickly, it will crack.

For two years in particular, Davis has been developing a beer glass. “I enjoy a good beer and felt I had to make a better beer glass,” he explains. “There’s a whole world of people who are just as excited about craft beer as I am, so it’s really rewarding to share my glasses with others and see that.”

eyeglasses

Despite having had his fair share of broken glass and burns, Davis continues to do what he loves. “When I walk into the studio in the morning, I turn on the annealer and see what I did the night before,” Davis exclaims. “All these years later, I’m still very excited about it – it’s really cool to see the finished product.”

To see Davis’ work at Field + Supply, purchase tickets here.


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