Glassblowing on Wheels

Why one creative thinks a mobile studio will bring Akron together

by Michelle DeShon

masonportraitAfter a day in the Kent State University glass studio with his cousin in 1993, Chad Mason was hooked. Mason was 23 years old and he liked creating things with his hands.

The following spring semester, Mason met with the founder of the glass blowing program at KSU, was accepted and started in the fall. Due to the high demand, he was lucky to get in and spent the next five years diligently working in the studio.

After working for a number of years at the Corning Museum of Glass and seeing working examples of glassblowing studios like Glass Axis in Columbus and Akron Glass Works, an idea began to form: What if he took his love on the road? This lead to Heart of Glass, Mason’s own mobile glassblowing studio. He submitted the idea to the Knight Arts Challenge and was one of the 27 finalists. For his idea, he was awarded $50,000 and charged with raising a matching amount. With this he hopes to build a mobile studio and travel throughout the community, educating along the way.

cuttingexcess“The town seems ready for it. It’s hungry for stuff like this,” said Mason in reference to the surge of art in the Akron area. Where industrial past meets present, Mason believes that glass art is exciting, attractive and intriguing. It has the possibility to bring people together and give them a hands-on experience with a skill from our distant past.

Mason would also like to feature local glass artists on Heart of Glass’ social media pages and bring them in to do live demos in the mobile studio. In the future, Mason hopes that his studio will find a permanent location where people can rent time to use it, take a class and participate in weekend-long workshops.

Currently, Mason is working on starting a GoFundMe account that will bring awareness to his organization and help him fund the project to raise his Knight Arts match. He said meeting the match will be the more challenging part of the project, while getting out and traveling with the studio will be easy. He hopes to have the studio built and operating by Spring 2017. To donate to Heart of Glass, visit


While joining The Devil Strip team for the summer, Michelle DeShon has realized that Akron has an abundance of genuine and passionate people. Keep being awesome Akron, I love you.

(Photos courtesy of Eartha L. Goodwin Photography)