In hot pursuit of an adventure: our experience at International Hot Glass

If there’s one thing I love more than sewing, it’s mini-adventures. I call them mini-adventures because I’m not talking about climbing Mount Everest, here. I’m talking about one-day experiences that typically include one or more of the following elements (mix and match as you please):

  • Close to home (no more than a day trip away)
  • A “hidden gem” activity that most people have never heard of (something more interesting than eating out or going to a movie)
  • An activity with local flair (I love being a tourist in my own zip code)
  • Trying something new (even if it’s just new to me or my friends)
  • And of course, as someone who writes a sewing blog… bonus points if it’s a crafty activity!

Past adventures that I’ve participated in, that I feel meet some of the criteria I’ve outlined above:

Well shoot, look at that long list of adventures! And to think there’s still so many more on my list that I have yet to conquer. For that reason, I try to plan a mini-adventure every year for my birthday. In years past, I’ve gone camping at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort (hence the archery lessons!) or dragged all of my friends to one of those “make a fancy canvas painting while drinking wine” type places.

Archery lessons for my 25th birthday with my previous roomie, Elizabeth.

Archery lessons for my 25th birthday with my previous roomie, Elizabeth.

This year, I decided to go crafty with a glass art workshop!

I discovered a place in Central Florida called International Hot Glass that has only been open for a few months. Located in the old Festival Bay Mall (now called Artegon Marketplace) on International Drive, it’s a gallery full of incredible glass art (aka – don’t touch anything) with a studio setup in the back where you can watch demonstrations or even participate in the glass art experience by signing up for a “walk in workshop.”

The cast of characters joining me for this adventure are friends that you have all met before – Joe, Chris and Krafty Katie. Despite the fact that International Hot Glass calls their sessions “WALK IN workshops,” it is recommended that you call in advance to make sure there’s space for your group. I called one day prior to my birthday, and they sounded a little apprehensive about accommodating four people. We also had to put down a non-refundable $20-per-person deposit. I had no problem doing this, but I do wish they didn’t call the workshops “walk in” on their web site – it’s a little confusing.

But any qualms I had with the registration process were long forgotten once we arrived at IHG to start our adventure! It was SO much fun and we can’t wait to go back and do it again.

Celebrating a successful experience with no burns or broken glass.

Celebrating a successful experience with no burns or broken glass.

The price of the experience is dependent on the piece you would like to make, ranging from $45-195. Pieces include items like a paperweight, cup, vase, candy dish, bowl, platter, etc. Most exciting is the “flavor of the month” which varies depending on the time of year (e.g., the flavor of the month back in October was a pumpkin). Joe and Chris both opted for the “flavor of the month” for February, which was a stemless wine glass. Katie and I were immediately sold on the flower when we saw it. Even though it doesn’t really serve any purpose other than decor, we loved it.

But most importantly, we all got to choose the color(s) for our pieces.

International Hot Glass Experience

Choosing colors was the hardest decision!

Since it was my birthday, the gang made me go first. What’s pretty fun about the setup at IHG is that there are small bleachers behind a divider, overlooking the glass making area, so friends and family can safely hang out and watch while you do your thing.


Rockin’ the PPE.

Our instructor Thomas was incredible and informative and patient! We each spent about 20-30 minutes one-on-one with Thomas walking us through all the steps and giving us the educational spiel about glass art.


Katie, Chris and Joe enjoying their glass art experiences!

Thomas never rushed us and made sure each person had the individual attention they needed. Even when the rest of us were goofing off in the spectator area. 😉

International Hot Glass Experience

Group selfie while Katie learns to twirl the stick.

Since the workshop was so quick and we walked in completely clueless, let’s be honest, Thomas did most of the hard (e.g., DANGEROUS) work. But we definitely got to be “up close and personal” throughout the experience and that’s all we really needed!

International Hot Glass Experience

Pinching out the flower petals.

What was pretty cool about Joe and Chris’s stemless wine glasses is that a third person was needed to help flatten the bottom of the glass, so Joe and Chris got to participate in the creation of each other’s glasses as well. Teamwork makes the dream work! Or, teamwork makes the wine glasses.

Chris blowing air, Joe holding a paddle to flatten the bottom of the glass, and Thomas doing the most important and dangerous stuff. LOL.

Chris blowing air, Joe holding a paddle to flatten the bottom of the glass, and Thomas doing the most important and dangerous stuff. LOL.

I don’t ever expect to be a master glass artist myself (too hot – too scary! I’ve read Johnny Tremain, y’all) but just to be able to say I’ve had this mini-experience is enough for me.


(Safely) playing with fire.

As each of us finished our pieces, we got one last look before they were whisked away to slowly cool overnight in an oven, so we didn’t really get the full impact of what they looked like until the next day when we picked them up.

Glass Flowers

Mine and Katie’s flowers – I did the pink/green (I know, original) – and Katie did the white/blue. Love the white stem on hers!

WOW! Not only was this experience really fun and education, but we also got pretty magical artwork out of it. We’ve definitely moved on from the macaroni-and-glitter days.

Stemless Wine Glasses

Joe and Chris’s stemless wine glasses. Cheers!

If you’ve ever wanted to try something like this and you live in or around Central Florida, DO IT! It’s a lot of fun and you get an incredibly brag-worthy piece to take home. Many thanks to Thomas and the gang at International Hot Glass for leading us through so a cool activity. And if you don’t live in Central Florida, check around for a place like this in your zip code – there are others out there!

Any suggestions for mini-adventures in Central Florida? I’m all ears! Let me know about it in the comments.


2 thoughts on “In hot pursuit of an adventure: our experience at International Hot Glass

  1. That sounds very fun! I didn’t know you were central Florida! Me too! Love your list of adventures. I’m going to have to try some of them!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the list! I would highly recommend all of those adventures!
      Not only am I in Central Florida, but we share the same place of employment. I just don’t post about it a lot. 🙂

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