Hittin’ The Town: Toledo studio sells its creations all over the world

Gathered Glass in downtown Toledo has customers around the world.
Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 4:54 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - This next story is a real hot topic! Glass blowing is an art form that has a lot of local ties. It’s an ancient art form with deep roots in Toledo.

Mike Stevens, the co-owner of Gathered Glass Blowing Studio downtown, said “We ship to museum stores, galleries, other little shops. Vineyards in California use our decanters. We do large-scale wall pieces for public art, hotels, hospitals, cruise ships. We have also done work for The Toledo Zoo and Aquarium.”

The studio store is full of beautiful creations. “We’re doing a custom order for wine stoppers they’re simple to make, they take about five minutes. But I’ve also worked on pieces that took 6-7 hours in the shop that took ten people to make,” Stevens said.

Mike and his business partner, Adam Goldberg, opened the downtown studio a decade ago. “We have a furnace that holds about 400 pounds of glass. You pull it out on a stick . It starts off as a 2-thousand degree material. You can make anything you want as long as you have the equipment and the skills to do so,” according to Stevens.

Mike started developing his skills as a teenager in Indianapolis. After he graduated from BGSU, he was able to combine his passion and his career. “I like to do intricate pattern work. It’s called Kane. That general idea of line work. That’s what I love to make,” Stevens said.

According to Stevens, because of the delicate nature of the medium mike doesn’t get too attached to his work until it’s finished. “If something breaks, you put it in the trash and start over. I once worked on a piece for hours that broke in the last 20 minutes, you got to let it go.”

While glassblowing itself dates back centuries, the Studio Glass Movement started right here in Toledo in 1962 with a class the Toledo Museum of Art. Dominick Labino was a big part of it all. Work he created at his studio in Grand Rapids is found in museums around the world. “Without him I don’t think we’d be where we are today. His shop was not far from her and he was working with it long before anyone else. He was incredibly humble, he didn’t put himself out there too much,” Stevens said.

You can learn the art form right at Gathered Glass. There are classes, workshops and private sessions for all skill levels. “It is a little intimidating. We are working with a 2,000 degree material. However, as long as you listen to us and are focused, anybody can make anything with glass,” Stevens said.

While this is a hometown business, Mike says the majority of the wholesale pieces made at Gathered Glass are sold outside Ohio.

If you’d like to buy a piece from the studio or learn how to create your own, click here.

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