The Chicago Hot Glass open house benefits artist victims of Katrina
For the past month, staffers at Chicago Hot Glass have been putting in long hours making dozens and dozens of handblown pint glasses. They are stockpiling for a good cause: On Saturday 29, the Humboldt Park–based nonprofit will host its annual open house to coincide with SOFA. This year, the open house benefits the Craft Emergency Relief Fund's disaster-relief program. CERF, established to help artists in need, holds a fund-raiser of some sort every year at SOFA, and the folks at Hot Glass came up with a great idea: Ten bucks gets you a handmade glass that you can fill as many times as you like with beer, wine or assorted beverages on hand, and CERF gets all the proceeds.
Chicago Hot Glass held a bottomless-glass fund-raiser for the first time a few months ago in support of tsunami-relief operations. "We made 80 pieces," says Daniel Staples, the president and one of four partners of Chicago Hot Glass. They sold out so quickly that Staples's wife rushed home and cleared out their cupboards and returned with all their blown glass. "Those all sold," Staples says. This time, they plan to be a little more prepared.
When Hurricane Katrina hit, Staples and company found themselves hosting Andy Brott, a displaced glass blower from New Orleans. "He had some production he had to get done," Staples says. "It was very cool having him here. We learned a lot from each other."
Staples said they had decided they were going to do something for the Katrina-relief effort, and the experience of working alongside Brott inspired them to connect their efforts to CERF. There is a large community of glass artists in New Orleans; the Glass Arts Society even held its annual conference there in 2004. "We figured, Let's focus a little and we will help out the arts community down there," Staples says.
Based on last year's open house, Chicago Hot Glass folks are consummate hosts, and this year they're offering barbecue and pizza baked in their kilns and, fittingly, some New Orleans–inspired dishes. There will be a glass auction with objects donated by artists such as Richard Ritter (represented by Marx-Saunders), plus a raffle and demonstrations by staffers and visiting artists.—Ruth Lopez
The Chicago Hot Glass Social and CERF Benefit takes place Saturday 29 from noon to midnight. There will be free bus service to and from SOFA on Navy Pier.