by Marco Ovies, Arts Editor
On the outside, Surrey’s Studio Seventy Three looks like your typical glassware store, with many of their creations displayed in the window for sale. I had walked past it many times without a second glance. It wasn’t until my mom had booked a fused glass making class for my family and girlfriend (yes, she is real, I promise) that I realized how truly unique this place was.
According to their website, Studio Seventy Three is a not-for-profit studio offering an opportunity for adults with developmental disabilities employment and a creative outlet. Before the class, I browsed through some of the art they had on display for inspiration, quickly realizing that I was in trouble. Everything for sale looked fantastic while I could barely draw a stickman — I was definitely in over my head.
The fused glass making class was held behind the exhibit on a large table with many different squares of clear glass. To put it simply, you glue different coloured pieces of glass onto this one clear sheet to make an image, and they throw it in the kiln to fuse it together. You can make all sorts of things like suncatchers, coasters, soap dishes, and even Christmas ornaments. I decided to make three suncatchers, which in hindsight makes no sense considering I only have one tiny window in my basement suite.
There was an instructor with us the entire time who offered sage words of wisdom and played some bumping ABBA. Aside from the emotional support, the instructor left us to our own devices, letting us make whatever we wished. Buckets of different coloured glass circled the entire room allowing you to make whatever your heart desired. I decided my suncatchers should feature a penguin, a succulent, and my handsome boi Mudkip, which no one in my family seemed to appreciate due to their lack of Pokemon knowledge.
I’m going to be honest with you, my penguin turned out pretty poorly and I will not be including a photo of it for my own ego. But once you get past the initial learning curve, glass fusing becomes a lot of fun and our allotted two hour class quickly turned into three. Also, each class has one of the artists of Studio Seventy Three join you to help realize how truly untalented you are. One of the artists is actually a regular at the Starbucks I work at, so Fatima if you’re reading this: hello.
If you get the chance, please make sure to check this place out and support some of the local artists. Fused glass classes start at $40 per person, three items for two hours, and you can find out how to book one on their website. And don’t worry if you think you’re not artistic enough to do it. If I can make something remotely cute, then I’m sure you will be able to as well.