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Glass Axis

Have a ball playing with fire at Franklinton art center


Glass Axis: Have a ball playing with fire at Franklinton art centerIntroduce youngsters to the art of glassmaking at Glass Axis, which offers hands-on workshops to adults and kids as young as 8 years old.

Glass Axis is a workshop and gallery located inside a warehouse in the neighborhood of Franklinton, just west of downtown Columbus. It’s been in Columbus in various locations for 30 years, but the budding arts district feels like home.

I took a beginners’ workshop called a “first-experience” class through my employer. My coworkers and I created spherical glass ornaments. I enjoyed getting a feel for the process without having the fear of getting burned. My experience seemed suitable for children.

One by one, our instructor, Jacci Delaney, guided us through the steps of making an ornament while those not participating watched from the bleachers. My personal lesson lasted about 15 minutes and included twirling a glob of molten glass at the end of a metal rod in a fire pit, dipping the hot glob into two bowls of colored glass bits, and blowing into a tube with a reed-like tip to form my glass bubble.

Delaney performed the more difficult steps, such as gathering the initial glob of molten glass on the rod, shaping the ball of glass and removing the ball by gently tapping a mallet on the rod. She also formed a glass hook so I can hang my ornament.

Glass Axis: Have a ball playing with fire at Franklinton art centerThe experience was just enough for me to appreciate the complexities and fragility of the art form, as well as taste the sensation of blowing my own glass object. I’m excited to display my ornament at home and proclaim, “Yeah, I made that!”

Other workshops include blowing a glass pumpkin, sculpting a paperweight and making a Pandora-style bracelet. Costs range from $39 for the first-experience workshops to $85 for a glass on making a stained-glass heart.

Not ready to play with fire? Observe other glass blowers by attending a free demonstration from the bleachers. While there, check out the gallery, which holds an annual spring sale in mid-May.

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Glass Axis is located at 610 W. Town St., Columbus. For more information, Call 614-291-4250 or visit glassaxis.org.

Villa Nova Ristorante

Enjoy homemade Italian favorites in a fun, funky environment


We’re starting to notice that we like hometown-styled Italian restaurants. Especially ones that offer home-cooked meals at a decent price in a zany environment with lots of noise.

Villa Nova Ristorante in Columbus is one such happening joint. We like it because it reminds us of Mike’s hometown in southeastern Ohio. Walk into the Villa Nova, and you immediately feel welcomed by folks who look like someone you’ve known since childhood.

The family-run restaurant, founded in 1978, offers a wide selection of pasta, chicken, steak and seafood dishes, as well as sandwiches and pizza. Go for the homemade meatballs and Italian sausage. All dinners come with garlic sticks and soup or salad.

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Italian standouts include lasagna, ravioli, gnocchi, tortellini, manicotti shells florentine, rigatoni and eggplant parmesan.

We love the atmosphere. We visited during a busy Saturday evening in March, and we had to wait about half an hour for a table. But they gave us a buzzer for our pockets, and we headed for the bar. Villa Nova’s bartenders aren’t afraid to tip the bottle when they pour you a drink. Mike, especially, appreciated that.

Meanwhile the kids raided a candy dish as I admired the restaurant’s eccentric decor that includes a wall full of nautical devices and another full of license plates and paintings from mob movies, as well as shelves overflowing with hundreds of copper kettles.

Specials

All meals on the children’s menu cost $1.99 on Monday for those ages 12 and under. Options include spaghetti with meatball, fettuccini Alfredo, pizza, chicken tenders, hamburger, grilled cheese and mini corn dogs.

A special on Sunday includes spaghetti, salad, soup and spumoni ice cream for $10.95.

Villa Nova is located at 5545 N. High St., Columbus. For more information, visit villanovacolumbus.com or call 614-846-5777.