Hot Shop Valpo is an open studio. We welcome folks to come in to visit and experience what we do. If you plan to come by please call ahead to ensure we will be working as we do keep “artist hours”.
We offer private and semi-private classes ranging from beginner to advanced.
For artists who have completed glass blowing matriculation courses through HSV or other studios, we offer bench rental space. All equipment is included with the bench. Simply bring your own color and creativity and the rest is up to you.
Please visit our gallery for one of a kind art glass created in our studio. Our work is also in various galleries around NW Indiana and Michigan. If you don’t see something that you love, let us know. We can create custom work matching colors, styles, etc. Everything from small table top pieces to commercial installations. We love to collaborate with clients as well as other artists.
Dave is a retired United States Marine with over 22 years of global active duty service. He and his wife Susie have been married for 30+ years and have two son’s Jim (a Marine himself) and Bryan whom you will meet here. After retiring from The Corps Dave went to work in the Real Estate industry handling major clients for a large real estate auction company and now is SVP of Client Management for Matt Martin Real Estate Management headquartered out of Texas.
Dave’s interest in blown glass began some 25 years ago with his fascination with Dale Chihuly’s works around the world. Dave had a dream to one day own a piece of Dale’s work. While also appreciating the works of many other glass artists over the years, it never occurred to Dave that he would one day become a glass blower himself. While on a business trip to Michigan, Dave picked up a tourism brochure which was filled with many interesting things to do around the state. Dave found an advertisement for glass blowing classes at Waterstreet Glassworks (WSG) in Benton Harbor. Dave asked his son Bryan (an art and graphic design major at IUN) if he would be interested in taking the classes. After taking the matriculation courses from Master Glass Blower Jerry Catania a passion was born for both and the guys were renting shop time as often as they could.
WSG is where Dave and Bryan met Eli Zilke. Eli was an instructor and shop technician who taught and mentored Dave and Bryan along the way. Over the last 4 years it became a dream for Dave to open a Hot Shop in Valparaiso where he and Bryan could work inproving their skills and bring this unusual art form to their community. However the vision was never complete without the strong technical and artistic skills and partnership of Eli. In late 2013 Dave approached Eli with the idea and the vision started to become a reality. Over the next 6 months the trio would endeavor to acquire the equipment needed as well as find an appropriate space. With the opening of Hot Shop Valpo in June the dream is now reality.
The three will be working in earnest creating one of a kind art pieces and installations for homes and businesses as well as hosting private/semi-private classes for interested future glass artists. While there is no gallery space at their 864 Kinsey Street Hot Shop they will indeed have a virtual gallery here @www.hotshopvalpo.com.
Eli is a glass blower residing in Benton harbor MI, his love for glass started early in life. His first encounter with hot glass came at the age of 8 when his parents chose Venice Italy as one of the destinations on a family vacation abroad; it was love at first sight.
Eli started working with glass at the age of 11 making glass beads in the kitchen of his childhood home. In 2005 Eli had the opportunity to join the “Fired Up” program at Waterstreet Glassworks in Benton Harbor Michigan. Fired Up is where he received his initial instruction learning from master glass blower Jerry Catania. Eli is a teacher at the school and now gives back by teaching and mentoring in the very program that he learned from.
After learning the basics, Eli’s thirst for knowledge and skill took him across the country and the world where he took classes, studied with, and worked for many different professional glass artists.
Eli is enamored by glass’ ability to bend, reflect and refract light. In his most recent work he aims to create the illusion that the glass is giving off light when actually none is present. He also enjoys creating a “micro environment” by grouping together cane and murini to give the illusion of movement on an otherwise unchanging canvas. Eli has always wanted to run a hot shop and with the partnership between he, Dave, and Bryan at Hot Shop Valpo” he is doing just that. Eli is very excited to have the freedom to continue to develop his works and master his craft at Hot Shop Valpo.
Bryan grew up in a Military (Marine) family which throughout his life gave him the opportunity to move several times to new communities which instilled an open mind and a broad outlook on life and people. The family ultimately settled in Valparaiso Indiana where Bryan graduated from Wheeler High School in 2010. Bryan and his brother Jim are both Eagle Scouts which also contributed to his well-rounded outlook.
Bryan has always been artistic with a flair for color and an eye for form. He is now pursuing his Graphic Art degree at Indiana University Northwest entering his senior year. In 2009 Bryan and his dad Dave took a 6 week glass blowing matriculation course at Waterstreet Glassworks in Benton Harbor Michigan under Master Glass Blower Jerry Catania.
Over the last 4 years Bryan and Dave have been working together as a team mastering their craft. Bryan picked up the craft quickly and enjoys working with an art form that is organic and flexible. “The thing about glass is that it is constantly changing as you go along. Unlike other art forms, blowing glass has many forces working against you; forces such as gravity, temperature, and centrifugal force. A sculptor or painter can stop what they are doing and come back to it days later and pick right back up. With molten glass you can’t do that. Once you start a piece there is no turning back and you have to manage the external forces to your advantage. Once a piece is nearing completion the tension goes up. It is the last 30 seconds that are the most critical. To me that is challenging and challenge is fun”.