Thames Glass -::- Hand Blown Glass by Matthew Buechner

Experience Glassblowing at Thames Glass, Newport, RI!

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Try your hand at the ancient art of glassblowing! (Watch our Thames Glass YouTube video. Make an ornament, paperweight, or vase out of hot, molten glass with lots of help from a skilled glassblower. Come back to Thames Glass two days after your lesson to pick up the glass you made (so that the glass has time to cool). Or have us ship your ornament or paperweight to you anywhere in the continental US for $12 (add $2 for each additional ornament or paperweight to the same address). We can ship your vase to you anywhere in the continental US for $18. When your piece comes out of the oven, we will sign it with your name @ Thames Glass, so be sure to give us the correct spelling of the name you want on your glass.

Gift Certificates Available!

Call to Schedule

Please call (401) 846-0576 or come in to find out what times are available.  We often book up, so it is a good idea to make an appointment.  Please give us a call with payment to reserve a time (fully refundable if you cancel at least 48 hours before your scheduled appointment).  If you do not book ahead, we do take walk-ins and last minute bookings if there is space available.    It is a fun experience and you get to keep what you make (after it cools for 2 days in the oven)! 
If you decide not to make any glass, we would still love for you to come to our shop to see our glass gallery of the glass that we make here on the premises, and to watch the glassblowing, which we have most days including weekends, except on the occasional day when we have to "charge" the furnace (that is, refill it with glass).  There is no charge for watching the glassblowing.

48-Hour Cancellation
If you need to cancel a lesson that you have booked ahead of time, please let us know at least 48 hours before the time of your lesson and we will refund your payment in full.
Come back to Thames Glass to pick up your glass at least two days after your lesson, but within 30 days, or arrange to have us ship it to you. After 30 days, we may no longer have your glass.

Prices are subject to change without notice.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the schedule and do I need to make an appointment in advance?

The "Make Your Own" Glassblowing Experience is available most afternoons, including weekends, except on the occasional days when we have to "charge" the furnace (that is, refill it with glass) or need to do repairs.  Please call (401) 846-0576 or come in to our shop to find out what times are available.  We need payment to reserve a time (fully refundable if you cancel at least 48 hours before your scheduled appointment).  We often book up, so it is a good idea to call ahead to reserve a time.  But if you do not book ahead, we do take walk-ins and last minute bookings if there is space available.  We also offer gift certificates if you want to buy for someone else but are not sure of their schedule.

What color/shape can I make?

The glassblower will give you some color choices and you may select up to two colors plus white. The piece that you make will be a simple, beginner design – a basically round ornament or paperweight or a simple, small (approx. 6 inches tall) vase from a few basic design choices.  It will not be a design from our website because the pieces on our website take more skill to make.  One never knows exactly what the finished piece will look like and the fun of it is in the experience and in the surprise when it comes out of the oven!

Can I take the glass home the day I make it?

No.  It takes two days for the glass to cool.  The molten glass starts at over 2000 degrees and each finished piece must be placed in an annealing oven so that it can cool gradually over 2 days so that it does not crack.  Your finished piece will be available for pick-up two days later or we can ship it to you ($12 for an ornament or paperweight, plus $2 for each additional ornament or paperweight to the same address in the continental US; $18 for a vase in the continental US).

What should I wear?

Wear comfortable clothes and shoes (no high heels!) and bring sunglasses if you have them handy. Please tie back long hair. Bring a camera!

Do you do group lessons?

Yes!  We have had lots of groups from corporate groups to birthday parties to family reunions to wedding parties take our lessons and love it!  The price is per piece that you make (see prices above).  Each person makes a piece one on one with a skilled glassblower while the other people in your group can take pictures.  We can do up to 12 ornaments per hour (with two glassblowing instructors working simultaneously) or up to 8 paperweights per hour or a combination of the two.  If possible, call and schedule in advance so that we can block out enough time for your group to be together.

Do you have an age limit?

We have had hundreds of children make their own hand blown glass ornament over the last several years and most children love it! It is imperative that children and everyone who goes into the blowing room is able to follow directions, stay in one place, and not touch the hot glassblowing pipes!!! Often children can do this by the time they are 7 or 8, but rather than have an age cut off, we need you as the parent to only have your child go into the blowing room if you are confident that your child can sit still and pay attention, follow directions and not touch anything unless instructed.

Can I make a fish, tumbler, snowman (or some other piece on the website/in the gallery)?

All of the pieces of glass that we show on our website and that we have in our shop take the glassblowers years to learn how to make, so they are not something that we can offer to have someone make in the "Make Your Own Ornament or Paperweight" experience.  What one is paying for in the "make your own glassblowing" is the experience of seeing what the glassblowing is like, with lots of help from a skilled glassblower (because even the most talented person could not actually make his/her own ornament or paperweight on the first (or second, or third) try—glassblowing takes years to learn).  Working with the glassblower is a fun experience and you get to keep whatever you make, but there is no telling what it will look like, so it is important to not have any expectations of what your glass will end up looking like.
If you would like a piece of glass that looks like the pictures on our website or like something we have in our shop, then the best thing to do is to order it from us or come in and choose your favorite piece.  If you would like the experience of trying glassblowing and would like to have a piece of glass that you helped make, even though you won’t be able to tell ahead of time what it will look like, then the "make your own ornament or paperweight" experience is the choice for you!

Can I design my own piece or bring in something to incorporate into an ornament/paperweight/vase?

No.  We cannot incorporate any other material into the glass because whatever it is will cool at a different rate than the glass, and therefore will crack and break the glass. 

We only offer the "make your own" ornament, paperweight, or vase.  Even though you will not be able to design your own glass piece, you will have a choice of colors for the ornament, paperweight, and vase, and if you "make your own" vase, you will have a choice of shape.

What one is paying for is the experience of seeing what the glassblowing is like, with lots of help from a skilled glassblower (because even the most talented person could not actually make his/her own ornament, paperweight, or vase on the first (or second, or third) try).  Like most skills, glassblowing takes years of practice to master.  Working with the glassblower is a fun experience and you get to keep whatever you make, but there is no telling what it will look like, so it is important to not have any expectations of what your glass will end up looking like.

I’ve made my own ornament, paperweight, AND a vase.  Do you offer anything beyond those options?

Those are the three options we offer.  They are designed to be a fun, hands-on beginner experience.  You do have a choice of colors for all the pieces and a choice of shape for the vase (including one that is more bowl-like).  We have had people come back many times to make another ornament, paperweight, or vase.  For more extensive classes, please contact Rhode Island School of Design (www.risd.edu) or the Glass Art Society (www.glassart.org).

We look forward to seeing you!

Glassblowing Studio & Gallery • 688 Thames Street • Newport, RI 023840 • Phone: 401.846.0576 • Fax: 401.846.0579 • glassinfo@thamesglass.com