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Meet Danielle Colón of Atlanta Hot Glass in Decatur

Today we’d like to introduce you to Danielle Colón.

Danielle, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My story with glass began at Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota, FL where I was pursuing a Fine Art degree with a focus in painting. After my first year at the college I was awarded a scholarship for a summer class at Pilchuck Glass School across the country in Stanwood, Washington. The two weeks I spent there were transformative and changed my focus from painting to glass. Pilchuck is an internationally recognized school, co-founded by famous glass artist Dale Chihuly, and artists from all over the world travel to learn and integrate themselves into the glass community.

That summer I was enrolled in a kiln-forming class and could only watch, mesmerized, as the glass blowers worked gooey molten liquid off the end of five-foot long metal pipes. A year passed before I returned to Pilchuck for a second time to learn glassblowing in a two week introductory course… After those two weeks I never looked back. All of my endeavors since then have been focused on glass.

So far this journey has taken me to UrbanGlass in NYC, back to Pilchuck on two more occasions, and after graduation I had the opportunity to work at the Duncan McClellan Gallery in St. Petersburg, FL for over two years. The gallery showcases some of the best glass artists in the world, and I helped in setting up each new show, got to meet and work with visiting artists, and had an incredible team I was lucky to be a part of. This summer I found myself in a position to make a big change in my life, so I decided I wanted to relocate back home – here in Atlanta. Fortune was on my side when I contacted the owners at Atlanta Hot Glass, and shortly thereafter I was able to move into Decatur to work as the new Shop Manager at the studio. My responsibilities include taking care of the facility and teaching most of the classes. I am thrilled to be back in my city with a new passion to share. One of my goals in coming home is to help build the glass scene here in Atlanta.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I believe one of the biggest obstacles for most artists is finding the balance between paying the bills and making time to create. I am very fortunate that my job pays my bills and simultaneously allows me to practice my craft, but I have not mastered the craft of consistently carving time out for myself to create. Along with this struggle comes the difficulty in accepting where I am in my journey, accepting that being an artist does not have a set path, and accepting that I am constantly re-defining what being an artist means for me. It can be frightening to feel like the future is unclear – but with that uncertainty comes the possibility to create your own path.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Atlanta Hot Glass – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Atlanta Hot Glass was founded in 2013 with a core group of glassblowers that has grown into a large family. The studio was built for the professional or amateur alike to have a great facility to work out of and learn all about making glass. We are Atlanta’s only public access hot glass studio, offering classes, studio rental, and membership opportunities. With membership comes a discounted studio rental rate with access to certain tools and equipment – once we qualify the glassblower they are able to rent the facility without supervision. Most of our members also teach out of our shop, sharing their knowledge and experience with both students and each other. The approximately 2500 sq. ft. space also has a beautiful gallery where our members showcase their creations and artists can propose exhibitions. Our unique approach to developing classes and programs ensure you’re getting the most out of your glassmaking experience at Atlanta Hot Glass.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Right now I am getting ready for a trip I have planned next month – some of the details are still under wraps, but my alma mater Ringling College is flying me down to assist a world-famous glass artist for an opening demonstration of a new glass facility and visual arts building. It will be such an honor to assist in the celebration of this new building and the opportunity it represents for students.

Looking a little further ahead, recently I was hired by a local artist to fabricate over four hundred pieces of solid glass for a wall installation going into a new building in Utah. This is by far the largest project I have ever been a part of and I am thrilled for the opportunity to help bring her vision to life. The deadline for the glass portion of the project is mid-summer 2018, which may seem like a lot of time, but it will be here before I know it! We are currently the planning and testing stages of the project and by the New Year will production will be in full swing.

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