Glass is one of those things that we all take for granted because it’s pretty much always around us. It’s in the windows that shelter us from the howling wind and rain, it’s the container that we drink out of and it’s in the spectacles we put on so we can see all the rest of the glass around us better. Glass is glass and that is that. Until you walk into the art studio and gallery of J. (Jeremie) Draper Glass. There the glass we take for granted on a daily basis is turned into all sorts of shapes, shifts, styles and different works of art. Follow me and prepare to get all glassy-eyed and blown away by the beautiful and usable types of art that are created in the studio and gallery of J. Draper Glass.
Here we are outside of J. Draper Glass studio and gallery. I love the peace wreath on the wall! Let’s go inside and see what’s happening inside of here...
As soon as you walk in, you can see some of the colorful glass creations is the front window of the gallery. When you walk in the door, you can see you’re in the right place by the name etched on the cement floor! As usual, I’m about twenty minutes early and the owner, curator and artist here at J. Draper, Jeremie Draper is busy behind the counter helping someone out. We’ll wander around and take a few photos till she’s freed up.
All of the art and glass creations here are made by Jeremie and they’re incredible! There’s original hand-blown glasses, vases, wine stoppers, paper weights, hearts and ornaments in cases, shelves and tables here in this front gallery. And it’s all for sale if you’re looking for a one of a kind gift. If you look up towards the ceiling, there’s a whole glass constellation of original hand-made art hanging overhead. Beautiful!
I found out that the person Jeremie was helping out was none other than her mother, so I had to get a mother-daughter portrait for this post. That’s Jeremie on the left and her mother, Jeri on the right. It was wonderful to officially meet both of them and Jeri was just heading out, so Jeremie said she’d give me a tour of the space here.
Jeremie’s had a lot of press about her art and studio here in Peoria, you can read some of them here. These are two articles from the PJ Star and the bottom one intrigued me. It’s a story that was written by Leslie Renken about an unusual service that Jeremie offers here. If you have a loved one or a pet that has died, you can keep their memory alive by having Jeremie preserve the ashes in a glass memorial sun catcher or heart. Here’s the story that Leslie wrote about this wonderful idea and service offered here at J. Draper Glass.
There’s examples on display in this case. It only takes a tablespoon of the ashes to create one of these glass memorials. Jeremie told me that the ashes turn from grey to dazzling white in the process. I think this is such a great idea and way to remember a loved one or an animal that’s been part of your life. If you’re interested, you can call for information and arrangements at the number listed at the end of this post.
In addition to the gallery and the hand-blown art on sale in their, Jeremie also has a large studio down the hall that serves as her workplace for glass-blowing and also for classes, date nights and workshops that are open to the public. I love the mural on the wall and Jeremie told me it was created and painted by local artist, Connie Andrews. I love how she incorporated glass-blowing into the theme of the mural. Nice!
The center of the studio is where all of the glass action happens. Nothing was ready for actual glass-blowing yesterday, but Jeremie gave me a quick walk-through of what happens. The first stop is at this fire-urn (I’m not sure of the actual name of this thing, I really need to start writing this stuff down!), and it is hot, hot, hot, to quote Buster Poindexter! Next the glass is taken over to the warming ovens to keep the glass flexible as you shape and mold it into your own piece of art.
The final stop is over here where it has to cool down and rest. As you can imagine, it’s way more detailed than this and all of the details and aspects of glass-blowing are covered in the classes and workshops that are taught here. The bottom photo are some examples of hearts that were made by a recent St. Valentines Day date-night class.
On the back wall are just some of the tools of the trade used in glass-blowing and some of the instruments used are imported from Italy, where glass-blowing has a deep heritage. Jeremie studied the art of glass at Southern Illinois University and she said there’s a seminar next year in Italy that she’s going to be attending. So I’m sure there will be some classes and workshops coming up that will be inspired from that trip!
There’s a fine-arts case in the corner that has just some of the examples of products that come from the various classes and workshops that happen here including: paperweights, vases, ornaments, wine glasses, bowls, ornamental creatures and of course, St. Valentine’s Day creations!
Here’s a schedule on the wall with some of the classes, workshops and date nights that are coming up this month. As you can see, it’s a busy place here! Some of the St. Valentine’s Day events happening are: A Hands on Blown Stemless Wine Glass Date Night and this happens tonight and this Thursday at 7pm and Sunday at 2 and 4 pm. There’s also a Hands on Heart Workshop this Saturday and Sunday and the gallery is open for those last minute Valentine’s Day gifts on both Saturday and Sunday from 11 to 4 pm. Every vase purchased this weekend gets a solid sculpted heart. You can call the number below or check out the website for more information.
As we finished the tour, Jeremie pointed out that there’s a whole team here in place at J. Draper glass that includes, Misty Long and Brandie Centi. You can read more about Jeremie, Misty and Brandi right here. This was really a fun trip and such a wonderful gallery and studio filled with beautiful hand-made art, right here in Peoria! Thanks to Jeremie for the tour and for explaining her work to me! We’ll see you all tomorrow!
929 N. Sheridan Road (Corner of Main and Sheridan)