BEACON, N.Y. - There's something mesmerizing about watching a glass blower work with hot, soft, almost liquid glass.
That's one of the things that draws people to Beacon's Hudson Beach Glass - where customers can watch a glass blowing demonstration, and at times can even create their own glass art.
It was 1987 when John and Wendy Gilvey, Michael Benzer and Jennifer Smith founded Hudson Beach Glass, and the foursome opened their main street gallery and glass blowing studio in 2003.
Since then, the gallery/studio has been casting functional and sculptural objects, as well as holding classes where students can create their own glass art - Christmas ornaments, paperweights, glass beads, etc.
"We were all looking at glass tiles I had been making, and realized we can turn these tiles into serving bowls and trays, so we formed a partnership, and it took off from there," Benzer told Daily Voice of how the business started 30 years back.
"Glass is an exciting medium to work in," he added. "It's very immediate and fast, and a little dangerous because of the heat. Making quality products is the draw, rather than a disposable item. Something that's around a long time.
"It's a lot like cooking a good meal," he added. "It takes a lot of effort, it's physical, and the finished product is beautiful."
Customers seem to love the end results.
"The response we've gotten has been great," Benzer said. "We have a great group of return customers, we've got great new people who come in to see us for the first time. And people love the variety. You may not like the glass that I make, or Kathleen makes, but we have 30 other artists we represent, so there's something for everybody."
Benzer said the gallery's most popular items include serving bowls, ornaments, vases, and jewelry. "It's a pretty good balance," he said.
In the winter, the gallery books 15-minute sessions where customers can create their own glass Christmas ornament, and appointments are booked solid from November to January.
After 30 years, Benzer and his partners are still enjoying their work. "It's a small company, we like the people we work with," Benzer said. "Our mission statement for the business s to make a beautiful object first.
"The community that's happened is probably the best part of being here in Beacon," he added. "Making glass has been great, but the creative people who have moved here... We count on tourism for customers, but also our customer base is people right around the corner - which was unexpected, and is really great."
For more info on Hudson Beach Glass, and to view products, their website can be viewed here , or check them out on Facebook. Hudson Beach Glass is located at 162 Main Street in Beacon.