Today we’d like to introduce you to Corey Silverman.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Corey. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was first exposed to glass art while attending Alfred University in the mid-90s. After graduating with a degree in fine arts, I assisted in various glass studios on the East Coast and in Colorado; I started to focus on my own work in the early 2000s. A few years later, in partnership with another glass blower, I took over an existing studio when the then-owner left to address personal issues. In addition to the studio, we acquired several product lines with strong customer followings… and thus, began a decade as a production artist. Managing a production studio through one of the worst economic downturns in recent memory has truly shaped the way I look at making and selling glass!
In 2016, my wife and I took full ownership of the studio, which we rebranded as The Furnace: a glassworks. Our business currently produces functional and sculptural items for galleries and retail partners around the country. I’m also working closely with other artists to create their custom lines incorporating blown glass elements. And I manage to work in some time to explore my own artistic ideas.
We’ve also upgraded our equipment, allowing us to expand the realm of possibilities for our creative and expanding our ability to share the shop facilities with practicing glass blowers who may not have a workspace of their own. It requires a lot of attention and balancing competing demands, for sure, but I think in the process, I’ve become more focused on teaching others how to be great at the craft of glassblowing, too.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Umm, no, not at all!
Having become co-owner of a studio in 2007—and then having the economy tank in a major way—I was pretty naïve. I believed things would just level out and get better, and my then-partner and I weren’t really focused on developing a new product or trying to get new customers. There was a lot I didn’t know about how to deal with taxes, and that came back to bite me. And adding employees to the mix has been a learning curve for sure. The thing I’ve been learning is that being a full-time artist requires a whole lot of business savvy. It’s still not my strongest characteristic. Thankfully, Leanne, my wife, and current business partner keep a firm eye on the bigger picture of the business and makes sure I do, too.
As you might imagine, I enjoy the actual crafting/art side of the business the most, so I try to spend as much time as possible in the hot shop. But I often just have to make what sells in order to buy myself the space and time to work on the things I really want to make. And finding your voice as an artist in any medium is extremely difficult; I still feel I’ll be exploring my strong suits as a glass artist until the day I die.
Bottom line: Making art is great. Making a *living* as an artist—and running an art-based business—is a huge challenge.
The Furnace: a glassworks – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
The Furnace: a glassworks, has several facets:
• We are a production studio that creates functional as well as decorative pieces for a range of galleries, catalogs, online retailers, and bricks-and-mortar retail partners around the country. Our regular production lines include ornaments, pumpkins, drinkware, and vases.
• I make creating one-of-a-kind sculptures and vessels an essential part of the mix.
• We’ve worked with designers and fellow artists to create custom glass elements for larger sculptures, lighting installations, and so forth.
• We regularly teach workshops for people who just want to give glass blowing a try, as well as skills-focused lessons for people interested in taking up the craft.
• We rent our facility to other glass artists.
I am most proud of our ability to run a viable art glass business *and* share the art of glass with people who are intrigued by the art form. I have been working with glass for over 20 years now and still find myself learning about the material and pushing to try new things with it. I think it’s that sense of excitement and constant learning that makes our shop such a vibrant place to be.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to work with other artists to create installations that involve glass. A few years ago, I made over 1000 pieces of glass that an artist-colleague used in one installation at a restaurant in California. It was daunting but extremely fun and rewarding in the end.
I always get a little bump of warm satisfaction when we’re accepted into a juried art show, regardless of size or location. It’s nice to know that, even with only a few seconds to review photos, members of a jury looked and said “Yes.”
Oh yeah, and I really enjoy making glass art with my family (when they’re in the mood!).
- Most of our glass products retail in the $22-250 range.
- My one-of-a-kind sculptures and vessels have ranged from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
- Our classes range from $35 (for our annual Make-Your-Own-Ornament Extravaganza) to $175-250 for more involved item-oriented workshops.
- The price of skills-focused lessons varies depending on whether they’re ongoing or part of an intensive, four-week course.
- Address: 11354 W. 13th Ave, Ste 6
Lakewood, CO 80215(Just east of Simms between Sixth Ave and Colfax)
- Website: www.furnaceglassworks.com
- Phone: 303.274.0643
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/furnaceglassworks
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/furnaceglassworks
Leanne Silverman, Kim Allegretti, John Mueller, Wendy Silverman, Crystal Cartwright