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All that it’s cracked up to be: A look at Cracked Glass Art Glass Studio

Sitting at the address of 202 First Street is a small brick building with large windows that are filled with colorful and beautifully designed glass artwork. If distracted by these works of art, it can be easy to miss the business’s name: “Cracked Glass”, the light green letters spell out in another window, giving the appearance of actual cracked glass against a deep purple background, “Art Glass Studio”. Before having the opportunity to speak to co-owners Tracy Satterthwaite and Sharon Haworth, I imagined this studio was simply a gallery where you could purchase works of art made from glass. But after talking to these two women for only a few moments, I realized that Cracked Glass offered so much more than just that.

“Cracked Glass is a business that works with stained and fused glass, but there are actually a lot of different aspects to this business aside from our gallery and retail of different art supplies,” explains Tracy Satterthwaite, “and while we do have a gallery full of beautiful artwork, another big part of what we do is offer classes and workshops to people of all ages and skill-levels.”

These workshops are one to two days a month and are offered in all different areas of glass art — ranging from mosaic artwork to creating your own beautifully etched glass pendants. As for the most popular workshop? “The fusing workshop,” Sharon Haworth says without skipping a beat, “while the mosaic workshop is highly attended, our fusing workshop is definitely the most popular.” Even children ages six and older are welcome to stop in and try their hand at glass fusing, as long as they are accompanied by a responsible adult. “The kids can come in and do simple fusing, but we don’t let them do anything with the stained glass,” Haworth explains after I mix up fused glass and stained glass for a third time and then adds with a laugh, “having them cut glass for the stained glass process seems a little dangerous.”

As for the classes, Cracked Glass offers a beginning, intermediate, and advanced stained glass class, a class for glass fusing and slumping basics, and an advanced glass fusing and slumping class as well. These classes take place over the course of six weeks.

A look into where the workshop and classes at Cracked Glass take place.

A few colorful options for students to choose from while creating their masterpieces. 

A beautiful arrangement of student work displayed in the gallery.

In the gallery, you can find amazing artwork ranging from works of fused glass, ceramics, handmade jewelry, stunning pieces of woodwork, and even unique art made from gourds. All together, the collection represents the artwork of between thirty to forty different local artists.

“We get the busiest probably around Mother’s Day, as well as during Mom’s Weekend at U of I. Christmas is also a busier time for us,” says Haworth, “and our gallery’s expansion is more recent, so we now offer more gift-like items, like the jewelry.”

The expansion of the gallery to offer more gift-like items wasn’t the only expanding they talked about, though. “I’d like to look into ways to offer some fun activities aside from our workshops and classes. Having art parties for occasions like bachelorette parties would be one way I would like to expand,” says Satterthwaite. Allowing guests to bring in drinks and snacks to enjoy while working on pieces of art or gifts for the bride-to-be was mentioned as well. And although there was no discussion of definitive plans for future art parties, Cracked Glass continues its progress. “Since we bought the studio two years ago,” says Haworth, “we try to keep our supplies and glass selections well-stocked, of course, and just continue expanding our gallery in new ways.”

A small section of the many art supplies the Studio offers.

Want to see more?

Check out Cracked Glass’s website and Facebook page to see an extended version of their gallery, the artists, and check out the workshops and classes.

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