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Arts & Culture

Black Friday is Glass Friday at One Akron Entrepreneur's "Hot Shop"

hands-on teaching of glass blowing
TIM RUDELL
/
WKSU
A workshop at Akron Glass Works

The tradition of Black Friday kicking off the new Christmas shopping season has taken many forms. But there’s one practice catching on in Akron that’s about making rather than buying holiday gifts.

Jack Baker, Akron Glass Works
Credit TIM RUDELL / WKSU
Jack Baker, founder of Akron Glass Works

Jack Baker’s Akron Glass Works is in a former church near the University of Akron. He and his staff host workshops where people make their own glass objects.

Glass items produced at Akron Glass Works
Credit TIM RUDELL / WKSU
Handmade glass

He says that hands-on experience has proven very popular. “Many times when people come in here and take a workshop, they’re so ecstatic with the participation they’re on Facebook as they leave before they hit their cars.”  

Baker says the Black Friday workshops always sold out, but even workshops before Halloween are now packed. “The last couple of years they’ve just really taken off.  Just this fall we did over a thousand people making pumpkins.”

Instructors are alongside at all times for safety, but workshop students actually use the tools and blow and shape glass from the 2000+ degree ovens themselves.