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Keepin’ It Local: Boise man shares his passion for art glass

Philip Vogelpohl has traveled the world studying art glass and now shares his skills with those eager to learn

BOISE, Idaho — For 25 years, Boise’s Philip Vogelpohl has been manipulating molten glass using the element of fire in a creative form called art glass.

He has traveled the globe studying as an apprentice developing his skill and now shares his knowledge with other curious minds here in the Treasure Valley at his studio called Boise Art Glass.

Philip actually studied business in college, but discovered art glass while visiting a friend who was a glass artist. It was at that moment his passion for glass art was ignited.

“It’s challenging. It's just really difficult to take molten glass and be able to create an item out of it and create it just he way you want it. It’s a constant challenge even after 25 years. It’s one of those things that you never really 100 percent have control of. Sometimes the glass does its own thing and so you have to be really okay with letting things go if it doesn’t work out,” explained Philip. Deep words that translate from art to real life.

Philip teaches classes in all the glass art forms, but one of the most popular is glass blowing.

In this class, students are guided by a glass artist who will assist them in the process of blowing glass.

The teacher helps the student continuously spin the steel pole the glob of molten glass is attached to, preventing it from falling to the ground. They then assist in dipping the glowing blob into a container of colored glass shards, followed by directing the placing of the pole multiple times back into the 2,200 degree oven.

To say glass blowing is a hot process is an understatement. Even when the product is finished being molded and appears to be solidified, the creation is still sitting around 1,500 degrees! Items must be left in an oven to cool slowly to prevent them from cracking.

Some historical records show that glass blowing has been around since the 1st Century B.C. For thousands of years this art form has been captivating hearts. Once you decide to go and create a soap pump of your own, it will be easy to see why.

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