Houston Studio Glass has been in operation since 1995, turning out amazing works of glass art, demonstrations, collaborative classes and just once a year, open studio tours. This year, the studios will host three weekends of demonstrations, guest artists, and shopping at the near-Heights facility that houses what may be Houston’s only glass furnace.
The activities begin with a reception from 6 – 9 p.m. on Friday, December 2; continuing from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with an open house and demonstrations. Plus, open December 10 – 11 and finally open for shopping 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on December 17. All events are at the studio: 610 Jackson Hill St. 77007 between Washington Avenue and Memorial Dr.
Moiel and Poeppel’s journey in the glass world began as collectors. Moiel retired from his neurosurgery practice because it was time to step back from the stress, Poeppel was his PA/RN and joined him. Glass filled the void.
Collecting led to a passion for more information and eventually the couple took a class at Texas Tech’s summer campus. That class lit a fire under them.
“The void of recent retirement gave us time,” Poeppel said. “If we had understood at the outset just how involved, how life consuming building/owning a glassblowing studio could be, we might not have done it. We were blessed with just the right balance of enthusiasm and ignorance.”
Moiel and Poeppel actually exhibited at one of my early shows and a few others, but quickly found it wasn’t for them. Their work can be found in museum gift shops like the MFA and the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. There is a wonderful gallery inside their studio, too.
Dick Moiel and Kathy Poeppel gave me a personal demonstration and tour of their Houston Studio Glass recently and I left with an all new found respect and awe for the art form. I had some questions.
Are you the only active glass studio with a furnace in Houston?
“Within the city limits…as far as we know. We mentioned that there are studios in Tomball and New Caney, which teach classes and offer rental time to experienced artists.”
Isn’t it rare to have a furnace here?
“I think artist studios tend to pop up around teaching centers. HBU only recently added glass as a material for their studio artists. They have a “warm” shop for slumping, fusing and kiln casting glass, but not a furnace.”
You seem to be the hub of decorative glass arts – tell me about that.
“Just a product of the number of years we have been interested in glass, active students and studio owners. We attend professional conferences for glass artists, students, educators and collectors the same way we traveled for medical conferences before retiring. Networking has given us the opportunity to host artists who come to town for shows at commercial galleries.”
I was enthralled with the glass making process – Moiel and Poeppel are excellent teachers. Visit the website for info on guest artists, a map and more: houstonstudioglass.com.
In addition to details about First Saturday Arts Market, I have listed the events and other art shows around the Heights this weekend on my blog at ArtValet.com.
Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market, find him at ArtValet.com