Ballard Hot Shop Glass Eye Studio Shapes Its Own Fortune

Studio works hard to ensure gift expectations aren’t shattered
Trays of ornaments are ready to be shipped.

This article appears in print in the December 2019 issue and is presented by Impact WashingtonClick here for a free subscription.

Glass Eye Studio is among the oldest and largest privately owned glassblowing studios, or “hot shops,” in the country. The studio, which employs 30 people, was launched in 1978 at Pike Place Market but has since relocated to the Ballard neighborhood, 600 N.W. 40th St. Designer and Glass Eye Creative Director Piper O’Neill works in collaboration with a team of artisan glassblowers to create handmade glass art, gifts and collectibles. The hot shop’s glass creations are sold online and through a network of gift stores — including Made in Washington outlets, The Purple Store and the SpaceBase Gift Shop at the Space Needle. Glass Eye’s products, known for their mastery of form and color, include ornaments, paperweights, bridal favors, votives and the unique Duck Dodge Collection — all ranging in price from $25 to $130 per item. 

A neck line is added to an ornament.

A Jupiter paperweight from the Celestial Series seems to swirl with color.

A glass artist creates an ornament loop.

A piece of glass is heated to strike, or bring out, the silver or gold colors.

A votive is put into the reheating furnace.

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