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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.

400 West Rich Street

400 West Rich Street

Five reasons to visit arts complex in East Franklinton

I like the term artist colony. It makes me think of a colony of bees that overtook our 1968 Impala, making their hive inside the shell of this decaying workhorse of a car that served our family well before retiring in our yard.

A 10,000-square-foot building now known as 400 West Rich Street, just west of downtown Columbus across the Scioto River, is like that old car to me. Built in 1910 as a factory for sinks and toilets, it’s now a creative space buzzing with artists. They’ve turned this rusty nook of East Franklinton into a sweet place to visit for Friday night gallery openings and Saturday morning farmers markets.

Its attraction is sticking, luring in more artists, new business and housing developments. Here are five reasons we like to visit this creative hub in a comeback neighborhood:

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It’s a little gritty

Look around 400 West Rich Street and you see evidence of a storied past and a promising future. A nearby boarded-up house sports a Las Vegas-esque banner cheering “Welcome to Franklinton, Ohio.” Inside are worn brick walls, concrete floors, exposed ducts and original windows and doors. The stage plays well against the vibrant art and eclectic food at Strongwater, the onsite restaurant and bar that opened in 2013.

It’s artsy and fun

400 West Rich is home to more than 100 artists and design studios. It’s also the home of Movement Activities, which offers classes in aerial trapeze – think slow dance movements while swinging on a low trapeze. It’s fun to watch the performers practice. It’s also the site of Urban Scrawl, a two-day festival in late August featuring music, food trucks and local artists creating murals that are later displayed in the neighborhood. There’s also Independents Day, an annual festival in late September that celebrates local artists and businesses.

You can learn something

Classes are offered in aerial dance, yoga and painting. Learn to paint “happy little trees” in a class that’s inspired by the late artist Bob Ross and his television show “The Joy of Painting.”

You can go marketing

The 400 Market is a biweekly event held 11 a.m.-2 p.m. the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. It features Ohio products and offers fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, raw honey, chunks of soap and jewelry.

Fridays can be special

“Franklinton Fridays” are held 7-11 p.m. the second Friday of every month. You might see art show openings, and you definitely can breeze through the open artist studios. Enjoy food and drink, too.

For more information visit 400westrich.com or stop by at 400 W. Rich St., Columbus.