Dakota Glass Works Exterior during Daytime

WELCOME TO OUR GLASS STUDIO

Dakota Glass Works is a state-of-the-art glassblowing studio dedicated to promoting and preserving the historic West Virginian art of glassblowing. Our studio serves as a living classroom for our Junior Crew (local Appalachian Youth participating in our program), where they learn shop maintenance and upkeep, experiment with various glassblowing techniques, and begin assisting in producing products for sale. Junior Crew learn to embrace the process of success through failure, teamwork, tenacity, and creative problem-solving.

In addition to teaching those new to the craft, we host visiting artists, offer glass blowing classes from beginners to advanced, and welcome glass artists of all backgrounds to our studio. Dakota Glass Works aims to foster creativity, growth, and new ideas for all.

Live Demonstrations:

Thursdays – Sundays: 9AM – 12PM and 1PM – 5PM

THE MAKING OF DAKOTA GLASS WORKS

DEDICATED TO THE LIFE + ARTISTRY OF DAKOTA POWELL

Dedicated to the life and artistry of Dakota William Powell, Dakota Glass Works uses arts-based instruction to empower youth and connect them to the healing practice of glassblowing. Dakota’s love of this art was fostered at Firebird Community Arts, where the craft of glassblowing is tied to healing work for trauma victims and mental health and suicide prevention services. Dakota, a Farms Work Wonders family member, battled mental illness during his life but found moments of peace and solace when he was in the glassblowing studio. While Dakota sadly died by suicide in 2017, it is our hope the craft of glassblowing, with its lessons in mindfulness and non-attachment, can serve as a beacon of hope to those working within our studio.

West Virginia has a rich cultural history of glass dating back to the 1800s. With abundant high-quality deposits of silica sand, reliable fuel sources including coal and natural gas, and convenient river and rail transportation – West Virginia had all the ideal conditions for a glass-making industry. Through the 20th century, over 400 glass studios adorned the West Virginia landscape, but have steadily declined to only a handful operating today.

Opened in 2021, Dakota Glass Works was designed in partnership with Wet Dog Glass as an inspiring place for youth as well as new and veteran glass blowers. The studio includes a state-of-the-art furnace and annealers (which can be controlled remotely), 15” and 21” Glory Holes, a Pipe Warmer and Garage, and is well equipped with hand tools, molds, color bar, and frit.  

In between visiting artists and classes, the studio staff works to stock numerous iconic pieces and seasonal items at the Wardensville Garden Market while continuing to experiment with new glassblowing techniques and designs. 

All enterprises in the Farms Work Wonders family reinvest 100% of their profits back into their youth programming. These include the Wardensville Garden Market, Lewis Farm, Mack’s Bingo Kitchen, Mack’s Bingo Bakery, and Dakota Glass Works. 

MEET OUR STUDIO MANAGER: BYRON GAYLORD

Byron’s journey in glass blowing began in 2006 through participation in the Community Partnership between Schools and Business (CPSB) program that matched students to job opportunities that would be otherwise unavailable. He quickly rose through the ranks, leading to coursework at Pilchuck, Dale Chihuly’s renowned international glass school in Washington, and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine. His skills have led him to work in many of the East Coast’s most revered glass studios, and in 2008, just two years after starting the craft, he was nominated for a prestigious Corning Award.

While honing his professional skills, Byron began incorporating mindfulness into his daily work, allowing for a healthy attitude of non-attachment and living in the now. His gratitude for the doors that were opened to him and the support he has received will transfer into his work with students here at Dakota Glass Works. Byron is dedicated to spreading this medium to the unlikely artist in hopes that lessons learned in the studio will benefit their lives for years to come. In 2021, Byron helped launch Dakota Glass Works, where he was voted 2nd Runner Up Best Artist in the Best of WV Awards by WV Living magazine the following year.

MEET OUR STUDIO MANAGER: BYRON GAYLORD

Byron’s journey in glass blowing began in 2006 through participation in the Community Partnership between Schools and Business (CPSB) program that matched students to job opportunities that would be otherwise unavailable. He quickly rose through the ranks, leading to coursework at Pilchuck, Dale Chihuly’s renowned international glass school in Washington, and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine. His skills have led him to work in many of the East Coast’s most revered glass studios, and in 2008, just two years after starting the craft, he was nominated for a prestigious Corning Award.

While honing his professional skills, Byron began incorporating mindfulness into his daily work, allowing for a healthy attitude of non-attachment and living in the now. His gratitude for the doors that were opened to him and the support he has received will transfer into his work with students here at Dakota Glass Works. Byron is dedicated to spreading this medium to the unlikely artist in hopes that lessons learned in the studio will benefit their lives for years to come. In 2021, Byron helped launch Dakota Glass Works, where he was voted 2nd Runner Up Best Artist in the Best of WV Awards by WV Living magazine the following year.

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