Artist and Coon Rapids resident Ben Johnson recently turned his garage into an art studio complete with a brand new furnace.
"It's around, I'd say anywhere to 1,700, 2,100 degrees, fresh from the pot as it drops,” Johnson said.
Ben Johnson has explored the artistry of glassblowing for more than a decade. Despite the present dangers when working around hot malleable glass, Ben says he respects the process.
"It's very physical, we're working with steel and metal tools,” Johnson said. “But I'm the type that's into construction and like constructivism, so it was almost more fun to build a studio than it is to actually work the glass."
Ben often works with long-time friend and glass art enthusiast, Micah Carithers. "We do Italian-style glassblowing like the Venetians did and still do," Carithers said.
Like musicians in an orchestra, they work in unison. For nearly an hour, it's back to the furnace, and then the bench, and back again, to refine the form on the piece they seek.
"It takes a while to develop that relationship, Carithers said. “And it's the understanding of the process and then how your partner has that perception of the process as well."
"The more people you can get involved on a piece the more complex it could be," Johnson said.
Ben Johnson plans to work in his studio for the next six months to create new works of art. He hopes to hold an open house in the spring, when he'll invite the public in to showcase his work.