IMG_5634Brittney Raby – Staff Writer

“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” – Pablo Picasso

Tucked off of the Georgia Road just a few miles south of Franklin sits Fire & Light Glass Studio, a kiln forming resource center. Artist, instructor, and owner John Phillips has grown his studio to be more than a business; he has established an atmosphere to foster creativity and to help grow the next generation of artists in the community.

“Giving children an environment of their own, not only allows one to think for themselves, it makes us use science, math and the understanding of history to allow the mind to open up and create, thus making them their own individual person,” said Phillips.”Art gives children a means of expression, allowing them to explore new ideas, while challenging their intellect.”Fire & Light’s mini classes are designed for parents and children to
explore the art of glass together and learn the basics of fusing, while learning how glass behaves at different temperatures in the kiln.

“All our mini classes opens the door for children and parents to interact with glass to create projects and express themselves,”IMG_5627 said Phillips.

Phillips and his staff introduce children to different kinds of glass such as irridized, collage, even dichroic glass to use in projects and ignite creativity. The classes are fun, hands-on, and are ideal for children of all ages. From learning about the process to being able to create something tangible they can hold once completed, Fire & Light Studio uses the art of kiln formed glass to spark innovation and imagination in budding young artists.

“Students can make 3 x 3, 4 x 4, 6 x 6 pieces that they can select precut or mosaic glass pieces to work with in fusing,” said Phillips. “Finished projects include, pendants, four 4 X 4 suncatchers or tiles and an 8 X 8 faux weave plate.”

Outside of the studio walls, Phillips has partnered with area students to help with art projects to help spread art into the community. “We work with the senior projects at Franklin High as well with the Mountain View Intermediate once a year,” said Phillips. “People as young as six can create glass with adult supervision, making what we do something that can begin early and can expand as they grow.”

IMG_5630Fire & Light Studio has been in Otto for 12 years and in the Atlanta area for 33 years. “I started glass in the ’80s after I bought my first house and wanted stained glass in it,” said Phillips. “I took classes for five years and continue to take classes from artists who do things I want to know how to do.”

In addition to art classes, Phillips has created a business model that allows schools, home schools, and birthday groups to utilize the studio as an extension of their education or event. The studio is a community resource of artists of all ages. “We do all kinds of glass, stained and leaded glass is my profession, fused glass is my passion, I sell supplies to people who want to do their own thing,” said Phillips. “I teach classes in both stained and fused glass and have workshops for just about anything to do with glass. I love glass and color and that keeps the mind open that we can do anything as long as we set our mind to.”

As an artist himself, Phillips sets up his students in the studio, then guides them as they learn and create their own work. “I show them their options and go over how the glass is going to do and turn them loose to create,” he said. “The studio is set up with a large work table and all the glass is in bins for them to select from. Working with any medium requires respect and once a person has a little knowledge of what the medium will do enables them to work with it. Like any activity you get involved with it’s filling a need in one’s creative juices.”

While Fire & Light is open five days a week, Phillips offers different times for people to come and create. It’s best to call and set up a time to create. For more information about Fire & Light Studio, call 828.349.4505.