Hey everyone! As some of you may have already seen on slack, I have found a possible opportunity for Hive13 to expand our capabilities, if there is interest from the community.
Just to be clear, this is NOT a vote, nor will this equipment show up as a donation without a vote first to make sure everyone is on board, if we decide such an addition is viable. This thread is intended to gauge interest, collect questions, and discuss possibilities.
For the past year, I have been in discussion with the owners of Cincinnati Glassworks, a small glass blowing studio currently located in Walnut Hills. The owners, Racheal and Daniel, have operated the studio for the last 4 years as a part-time second job, primarily operating Friday-Sunday, offering studio rental time and “date night” lessons for beginners. However, each of them have grown their families in the last few years, and they have been looking for the right opportunity to pass their studio on to someone else due to lack of time.
They are offering a full, complete, operational studio, including all the necessary equipment and tools to blow glass (I will post a full list of the equipment in a follow-up email).
The Studio is quite impressively compact and efficient, it would easily fit in a single bay of our space (possibly by moving electronics and 3D printing into the front), or in one of the empty spaces in the front, if appropriate safety barriers were put in place. there would certainly need to be discussion about what went where, but we would not need to expand to accommodate this addition.
The Furnace is very well built, with all code-required safety devices in place to ensure safe, unattended operation (hi and low air blower cutouts, high and low gas pressure cutouts, UV flame verification switch, etc). The furnace is also incredibly efficient, it has a recuperator built in which uses heat from the exhaust to pre-heat the intake air, resulting in gas usage of only 1 CCF/Hour (They say that their typical gas usage for a Thursday to Sunday melt is about $35, and they have a gas sub-meter which would be included to verify gas usage). Additionally, having inspected the furnace, I believe it still has several years of service life left before it will require significant maintenance (glass furnace refractory must be replaced regularly, the schedule varies by furnace and use, but typically is between every 5 to 8 years, I estimate cost to re-cast this furnace and replace the crucible to be on the order of $1500 when it needs to be done).
Operating a glass furnace and studio is slightly more expensive and more labor intensive than many other activities we have in the space. I am interested in hearing people’s input on different ways that could be managed. several options have been mentioned on slack, everything from simply running the shop just as the rest of the hive, using it to draw new members to recoup the cost, or possibly adding a “glass shop user” additional monthly fee for those who want access to the glass studio, to simply tracking weight of glass used and studio time used each month, and having members who use the studio pay for the gas and glass they use.
This capability is something that could really expand our capabilities, and draw many more artistic-minded members, as we have been trying to do for the last few years. The owners of the shop actually have a list of 16 local people who have regularly rented studio time from them in the past few years who they believe are likely to join Hive13 immediately if we were to work out a purchase of the equipment.
I would really like to hear what people think about this possibility! If there is interest and excitement, I’d like to propose we put together a “glass studio feasibility committee” to hammer through what all the details would look like, including fundraising, operations model, and maintenance/safety plans. If you don’t personally have interest in Glasswork, but think it would still be awesome to add, post letting me know, and likewise, if you think this addition would be harmful to the hive, post and let me know why you feel that way, and if there is a way it could be addressed. Obviously, this would be a big undertaking, and it’s one I am more than happy to lead, but I want to make sure everyone thinks it’s in the hive’s best interest before pouring all my efforts into it.
Please login to slack and head over to the #discussion channel and the #glasswork channel to discuss the value of this equipment. I have priced out much of it for what it would cost new, and what I believe it is worth in it’s current, used condition. Again, please see slack for actual dollar amounts and for what they are asking, but to give you an idea, I believe the most likely way we would fund this purchase would be some combination of 4-5 members willing to contribute $3k-5k each, or some portion being paid from Hive13 funds through a vote, or we could seek out community arts program grants from various organizations around the city.
I also will be meeting with the owners of Cincinnati Glassworks tomorrow night at the hive to show them around, if you have any questions you would like me to ask them, please, let me know! even if you don’t get your questions to me by tomorrow, I will compile any I get and get answers, they have been very responsive and forthcoming in all of my discussions with them.