How welcoming? They have a large viewing area with bleacher type seating all set up in the Hot Shop. There is no charge. Cold bottled water is available to purchase. There are restrooms. And you can bring in well-behaved dogs! (Have your furry friend check in first)
Hot Shop? Yup. That’s where they work the glass. The main glass furnace puts out 2100* F. That’s hot in any language, and as you can
imagine, it warms up the space quite a bit. They had a card that called it the “Hottest Spot in Texas”. We’re glad we were there in January!
It took us 2 trips to actually watch them work. We got there too late on a Friday. They had to stop work due to using up the available glass. Here’s a tip: Go earlier in the day to watch them work.
But by getting there late on a Friday, we had a few minutes to chat with Justin, the Hot Shop manager, who took time to explain a few things and show off a beautiful glass lampshade that would become part of a commercial installation in Dallas. And we got to watch him load glass into the main furnace from a pre-heat furnace.
The raw glass has to be pre-heated in a smaller furnace, otherwise it would explode under the rapid temperature change in the main furnace. Once an item is finished, it goes into a cool down unit that allows it to take 15-24 hours to cool off. Again, to avoid exploding glassware. As they work the glass, they have about 60 seconds from the time they are done crafting the piece to get it into the cool down unit.
We went back on Sunday and got to watch the employees create some of their own pieces (versus the production work they do on weekdays) We were a little late to watch the first piece get started, but we got to watch as Amanda created a lovely vase. We stuck around a bit longer and she made some flowers, observing that Valentine’s Day is coming. Amanda has been working glass for 8 years.
After the glass blowing demonstration, we drove further up the road to the town of Wimberly. A little community in the Hill Country loaded with cute, funky, interesting, fun shops ranging from vintage to rustic to kitchen to tourist to upscale. Everywhere we turned there was another little shop nestled along the winding streets and alleys.
It’s a small area, but very crammed (in a good way). Street parking is limited, but a large, free, public parking area is just a block or so from the central area. Additional businesses and cafes are open on the outskirts of that "old town" area. We browsed through some of the shops in this picturesque area before heading back “home”.
Texas Hill Country is pretty, even during January, and the locals tell us it is beautiful in the spring when the wildflowers are in bloom., and Wimberley is well worth visiting.
In the meantime, we’ll make our way further south again for another dose of the Gulf Coast before we make our way to the PNW, SD, and elsewhere.
|Amanda shapes glass for a vase|
|The vase really is blue....the glass is just red hot|
|Sometimes 2 hands are not enough. |
Justin, the Hot Shop manager helps shape the lip of the vase
|Amanda start to shape flower petals.|
|Wimberley Glassworks Showroom|
|Who's Popcorn in Wimberley. That was REALLY good popcorn.|