Home Arts & Culture Behind the Scenes: Joe Hobbs Glass

Behind the Scenes: Joe Hobbs Glass

Joe Hobbs and Joe Hobbs Glass are, in fact, just as cool as they look. Thanks to Centennial Bank I was lucky enough to join Joe Hobbs at the First City Arts Center for a first hand, behind the scenes look at him and the team preparing for the fall season and  17th Annual Glass and Ceramic Pumpkin Patch on October 7th.

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First City Art Center (FCAC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit art center in Pensacola, FL engaging the community through a broad range of workshops, classes, studio spaces, gallery exhibits, fundraising events, summer camp, youth art program, outreach programs, and field trips. FCAC provides a variety of opportunities for people to interact with art including classes and workshops in glass blowing, glass bead making, stained glass, sculpture, pottery on the wheel, hand-built pottery, drawing, painting, and various other mediums.

Joe Hobbs is a seriously talented glassblower and artist with over 22 years of experience and drawing inspiration the sand, the sea and nature. His passion for his artistry shows in his work and it was truly an honor to watch him work.

Upon arrival, I was pleasantly surprised that I looked the part — Joe and I were wearing matching black shirts. Having been there before, I was completely prepared for the heat and was definitely appreciative that the temperature was down ten degrees to the weeks prior.

We started by picking out our safety glasses and headed back to the heat where Joe would preheat the end of a blow pipe and gather the clear molten glass out of the furnace. He quickly blows into the end of the pipe and we have our starter bubble. We then choose a color for our ghost (I chose blue) and while Joe started shaping I joined his colleague to start heating the ghost eyes with a blow torch.

Joe gently presses the eyes onto our half-made ghost and we begin heating, rolling and shaping again. We blew out the arms, connected it to a solid rod and begin twirling it until it takes its desired shape. A little water, a tap to break it off the rod and one last little ‘haircut’ and our ghost is finished and ready to join his friends.

Although I make it sound easy and Joe makes it look easy, there is nothing easy about it! The talent at the First City Arts Center is truly remarkable. Although I looked the part,  I am definitely still not as cool as Joe and his team. Thank you to Joe and FCAC for the opportunity to see all the amazing work happening in the warehouse!

Take your own glass blowing class and buy your tickets for the 17th Annual Pumpkin Patch on the FCAC website. Happy fall Pensacola, let the festive season begin!