POCATELLO — At least once in a lifetime, most people probably wonder about the enigmatic qualities of glasswork. Whether it’s the vase on grandma’s table or the delicate structure enclosed in a marble, deciphering the process of such a creation seems impossible.
However, Poky Glass Art Studio in Pocatello is a business in the works of enabling the understanding of glass and potentially establishing a hobby for many in the community.
Upon walking into the studio, there’s a large octagonal table in the middle of the room with multiple torches and tools for students. Surrounding the edges of the room are larger torches and glass lathes for larger pieces of work, glass rods of many different colors, and a kiln to solidify the glass. In the back, there’s a showcase of the work done by the owners full of marbles, pendants and glasses. The jaw-dropping awe of glass being blown and manipulated is enough to excite the mind no matter the age, and as the torches are being lit, a sense of childhood wonder becomes too hard to hold back.
Ryan Heiner’s history with glass dates back to 1997 where he learned from a former student of the iconic artist Bob Snodgrass in Oregon. After many years of practice, he taught his long-known friend, Sam Casper, the art of glass six years ago. Co-owners Heiner and Casper are excited to bring something new to do in Pocatello.
“We’re hoping more artists would frequent the town and maybe get a new trade or a different art form,” Casper said.
Heiner and Casper are more than happy to provide the opportunity for artists to learn a new trade, as “it’s hard to get the money up to buy the torch, the kiln, and the glass, but (artists) can come and rent a spot from us, buy a little glass from us, use our power and use our stuff and its not so harsh on them. And they can learn how to make a living doing it, or at least a good hobby,” said Casper.
Whether it’s date nights, family fun days or just some free time to spare, Poky Glass guarantees time well spent.
At the moment, Heiner and Casper are obligating themselves to two nights a week for teaching, “which has been really hard,” Casper said. “We just have a day job that kills us half the time,” which limited the time they’ve had to build the studio. After a year of preparation, however, they feel ready to slowly open the business to the public.
Not to mention, opening a business amid a pandemic has posed troubles for many small business owners. To maintain a COVID-safe environment, they will teach three to four people per class and maintain social distancing.
“The table is pretty big so it keeps you 6 feet apart from everybody, and there’s good ventilation in there too so there’s not stagnant air,” Heiner said. “At first, until COVID is under control, (classes) will probably be more done by appointment.”
Poky Glass is located at 515 N. Main St. in Pocatello and is available for appointments on Wednesdays and Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m. and potentially Saturdays in the future. Visit Poky Glass’s website at pokyglassart.com or call 208-251-7837 for more information.