The Art of… Melting down and building up


Nestled between coffee shops, potters, and a fine arts studio, AO Glass calls their workshop on Pine Street in Burlington home.  AO Glass specializes in lighting components that are either molded or free-form creations depending on the complexity of the shape.  Additionally, AO Glass creates soap dishes through their partnership with Hotel Vermont, sculptures of ice cream cones with Ben and Jerry’s, custom lighting designs for artists, and much more.
The glass is heated in a furnace that reaches 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit and is blown out, shaped, and then put back in the furnace.  This process is repeated until the desired shape is achieved.  Working with such hot temperatures certainly has its drawbacks, especially in the summer when the workshop can reach a sweltering 140 degrees.  It is much more comfortable in the winter.
Currently, AO Glass is in the process of expanding their operations into a large warehouse on the side of their existing building.  There is a large “hot room” where the furnace and ovens are, then there is a cooling room with shelves of cooled glass waiting for the final touches, and a few small offices in the back.
The homey atmosphere, and heat from the furnace, draw artists throughout the district to gather around the workshop, creating a melting pot of creativity.
AO Glass is a tough place to miss if you’re walking through the arts district.  The large garage door is usually wide open with music and laughter echoing around the block and a noticeable temperature increase as you walk by.