About the Studio
Grand Rapids Glassblowing is “hot” for four to five months per year, in the spring and fall. It is during these months that glassblowing experiences are offered, such as “Blow Your Own Ornament”, or “Create Your Own Paperweight”, where participants, who may have no experience in glass working, assist John to make a glass keepsake of their own. An “Open House” is held in the spring and again in the fall, featuring glassblowing demonstrations and artwork for sale.
Due to the time it takes to supply his galleries and pursue other interests, the studio does not offer in-depth glassblowing classes, nor does it offer studio rental. John does not do glass repair, and does only a limited amount of custom commission work.
About John Riepma
“As a child, some of my most vivid memories were of watching flame-workers at craft fairs and glassblowers at Colonial Jamestown. I worked in stained glass for many years before I was invited to watch two friends in their beginning glassblowing class. I was immediately hooked, and determined to learn the craft myself. That was over twenty years ago. A machine designer and builder by trade, I researched, designed, and built all of the equipment in my studio.
Blown glass continues to amaze me every time I work with it. I have been fortunate enough to meet, watch, and be inspired by some of the best glassblowers in the world. When molten, the natural tendency of glass to assume graceful forms pleases the eye and mimics many of the shapes we see in nature. Its ability to both absorb and transmit light and show depth allows beautiful effects not seen in other mediums. I like the tactile experience of working with a gather of glass that is over 2000 degrees, using heat, gravity, and tools to control its form.
Glass is a difficult medium to master, demanding concentration, calmness, physical ability, and above all, a good dose of humility. I hope that others find beauty and grace in my work, and enjoy viewing it time and again.”