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Shaping Glass


John R. Rath

John spent 39 years as a Retirement Plan Actuary, including owning his own business for 20 years.  Most of his career was spent in the Kalamazoo area.  However, in 2014 after the sale of his business he went to work for another company in Brentwood TN.  In 2018, John closed the Actuarial chapter in his life and got back into glass. 

John’s first experience with Hot Glass was a “Make Your Own Ornament” about 15 years ago at West Michigan Glass Art Center, now Glass Art Kalamazoo.  His wife Sue had purchased several slots for a “Girls Day Out” at the workshop. A late cancellation opened a slot and Sue asked John if he wanted to join the group.  After some considerable discussion, he reluctantly “agreed” and was dragged kicking and screaming to the event.  Much to his surprise, he actually enjoyed it so he purchased another. 

The rest is history.  He took every hot glass class offered at WMGAC and still works almost every Monday with his first instructor, Mike Fortin of Avolio Glasswerks.  In addition, John rents time in the hot shop at GAK one or two days a week and has recently joined the staff at GAK as a part time hot glass instructor.

In addition, John has taken several intensive workshops at the Corning Museum of Glass with Bill Gudenrath, George Kennard, Dane Jack along with teaching assistants Dave Zimmerman, Lauren Hunt, Marko Stefanac and Dan Alexander.  During the summer of 2022, he is scheduled to take a cane/murine class with Cat Burns at Salem Community College and a Venetian Techniques class with Ryan Thompson at the Pittsburgh Glass Center and has applied for two more classes at the Corning Museum of Glass.

John recently formed Left Brain Hot Glass, LLC and has purchased a portable glass furnace and annealing tube for use at festivals, gift shops and private parties.  With this portable setup from Mobile Glassblowing Studios, LLC, handmade ornaments, and mini pumpkins can be made and annealed (slowly cooled) and can be taken home in a little more than an hour compared to the standard annealing time of 12+ hours.

Check our EVENT page for the dates and locations of upcoming festivals and gift shops.  Our BOOK ONLINE page gives you the ability to sign up for these opportunities in advance online.

Please wander through our GALLERY.  Left Brain Hot Glass has many pieces for purchase in our SHOP section.  We routinely make bar ware including “rocks” glasses and tumblers, vases, bowls, rondels, paperweights, garden art, ornaments, and other Holiday glass ware.  We also have some wooden lighted bases available if you prefer to illuminate your purchase.

Our Website and our Glass inventory are constantly changing so you will want to check back often.

Enjoy and CONTACT US with any questions.

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