Prax Gore Can Teach You to Blow Glass

The Alameda glass artist offers classes and holds open houses at Glass Hand Studio in addition to working on his own creations.


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Photo by Lance Yamamoto

Molten TransformationsPrax Gore is completely inspired by the hot, molten, and honey-like material he transforms into cold, clear, brittle glass. Those contrasts intrigue him, and he lets that evolving material inform everything he makes.

“It can be incredibly difficult and time-consuming to make a specific form, so part of what I enjoy is looking at a finished piece and seeing the hidden effort required to produce it,” said Gore, who has lived in Alameda since 2004 and opened his glass-blowing studio and school, Glass Hand Studio, near the Fruitvale Bridge, in 2013.

To better understand design for his glass art, Gore studies the work of painters and illustrators. For color and pattern ideas, he turns to the schools of Fauvism, Impressionism, and Expressionism. On form and decorative influence, he looks to pottery, particularly Japanese Zen-inspired ware. His work is semi-traditional, though some pieces are nonfunctional — just pretty to look at.

“My assistant and I go over the plans for the day and discuss any special requirements for each piece. Even when we have a well-defined set to make, I try to plan for one experimental piece in the session,” Gore said.

Recently, Gore has been enamored with creating “mood lights” that he described as anthropomorphic, “like weird insects or plants with legs,” while working out colors that are effective and look attractive when the lamp is on or off.

Glass Hand Studio offers introductory and ongoing classes, with flexible times and individualized instruction by Gore. The studio holds group events for up to 15 people, hosts several open houses per year, and the “hot shop” is available for rent to established glass artists who know their way around a furnace — aka the “glory hole.” (That furnace is maintained at a simmer of 1,975 degrees through the night, then lit and allowed to heat up to about 2,200 degrees prior to working. )

Originally from Fremont, Gore took his first classes at Public Glass in San Francisco before attending San Francisco State University. He spends much of his time assuming various roles to keep his studio thriving, apart from working on his own creations. The studio is a convenient 10 blocks from his home.

“I am the instructor for classes, I build and maintain the studio equipment, and I am also the chief janitor,” he said.

Visit his website at GlassHandStudio.com.

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