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Berlin, MD 21811
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Business

The art, magic, and science of blown glass

4/20/12 | By Tony Russo

BERLIN — When Jeffrey Auxer started offering Saturday glassblowing classes it was primarily to get people introduced to the art. It started with making Christmas ornaments but quickly grew to include flowers and paper weights and solidly-booked Saturdays. There is something so primitive in the feeling one has molding molten glass into an object and seeing it solidify before one’s eyes. 

Watching white-hot sand transform into pure art is experience no amount of scientific understanding or practical or even spiritual knowledge can quite get at. It’s an experience that people not only begin to crave but are also bound to want to share and Auxer said it is not uncommon for people to bring friends back or to return time and again until they’ve completed all of the available projects.

But working the glass is only a small part of the attraction of Jeffrey Auxer Designs on Jefferson Street. Auxer said that he regularly schedules demonstrations for groups, at no charge, who come in to watch the process unfold as he explains how the are comes together.

The combination of those two aspects alone would be enough to secure Jeffrey Auxer Designs as one of the premiere interactive galleries in the region. But Auxer splits his time between teaching and demonstrating his art and making it. Some of his work is inspired by the work of Dale Chihuly, arguably the world’s most famous glass artist. There are several chandeliers on display reminiscent of that artists large public works. But Auxer also produces functional art. Lamp stands, sinks, fixtures and even golf clubs are regular parts of his production work. Additionally, Auxer produces fine art pieces, including the very popular hanging platters that decorate businesses, restaurants and homes throughout the region.

When he opened his studio nearly three years ago, he had a fair idea of what he wanted to do, but  could never have conceived how prolific he would be over the course of a handful of months. But, especially recently, commissions have lead to more commissions and Auxer is easily the most recognizable name in glasswork in the area and word is quickly spreading.

Auxer will fly to Chicago to do an instillation in someone’s home next month, such is the quality of his work. He said that recently the Director of Design for insurance giant Kaiser Permanente called to let him know she’s selected a number of his hanging platters for one of their corporate offices.

“She just picked them up while she was here,” he said. “I didn’t even know, but now they’re in a highly visible space, which is pretty cool.”

As word about his work continues to spread, Auxer gets commissions and attracts customers from up and down the shore as well as from the Baltimore-D.C. area. He was also recently commissioned to provide centerpiece bowls for the annual PRMC Gala, but one of his proudest commissions is even a local one.

When Galaxy 66 opens its Skye Bar later this month it will feature pendant lamps Auxer created.   He said he is very excited to see his work become part of the cityscape on Coastal Highway. 

Making pendant lamps and chandeliers has been a significant part of his business for some time, which was something he never expected.

In his view, as people look to make changes to their homes without a total renovation, one of the easiest ways to transform a room is replacing the lights. Choosing blown glass over pre-fab fixtures changed the feel of a room significantly and is still priced within reason.

As his work continues to be recognized, it is likely that he will be able to play an even bigger part in the local art scene.

Anyone who is interested in seeing Auxer’s work or registering for one of his classes can do so by visiting www.jeffreyauxer.com.

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