Posted: 7:37 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012

Dayton studio offers glass-blowing classes


Dayton studio offers glass-blowing classes photo
Abi Pleasant and James Michael Kahle teach glassblowing at his Glass by James Michael Studio in Dayton.

By Pamela Dillon

Contributing Writer

Question: What is beautiful, heavy, and keeps paper from blowing away? Answer: a paperweight.

If you decide to take a glassblowing class and pay close attention, you can make sure that first adjective applies to yours. A paperweight is the introduction to creating all types of glassware at the James Michael Studio in Dayton. The owner/operator is James Michael Kahle, a well-known name for beautiful glassworks in the region.

“We have expanded opportunities for people to come in and pick up a blowpipe and actually try to make something,” said Kahle. “First is the paperweight Hot Glass Experience class, and if you really enjoy the class and are cool with the heat and everything, you can sign up for a four-session Beginning Class.”

Sometimes that paperweight can be the start of a new love affair with glass. Take Abi Pleasant for instance. She took her first paperweight class in 2007 and has stayed on as an apprentice ever since. She’s now worked her way up to teaching the Beginning Classes and some of the intermediate sessions.

“People that take our beginning classes are very interested and enthusiastic and passionate about the art. Because I have that same passion for glass blowing, I can share that with a group of people,” said Pleasant, an Englewood resident. “It’s very physically and mentally challenging.

Her advancement mirrors Kahle’s own progression in his glass creations. In 2009, he was commissioned to create a 26-piece collection of glassworks for the Dayton Heart & Vascular Hospital at Good Samaritan. They were displayed in a heart shape on the wall, and represented cardiologist George Brokerick and his extended family.

His studio was also filled with large glass bowls that are bound for Silver Springs, Maryland, to form a cascade of art down one wall of a 32-foot high terrarium.

“We’re doing more of the larger corporate-type installations now. We’re in negotiations with 3 different venues right now,” said Kahle. “Those include a Bellagio-type ceiling for an organization not too far from here, and maybe a collaboration with one of the major glass houses in Indiana.”

All this activity is really amazing when you consider that Kahle was struck by a car in October of 2011, and sustained a broken back and ribs. He was in rehabilitation for more than eight months.

Open Studio hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Glass by James Michael can also be found at Visceral Gallery’s new location at The Pendleton Art Center in Middletown, 1105 Central Avenue. He’s also represented at the Curly Tale Fine Art gallery at 16 W. Erie Street, Chicago.

How to Go:

What: Glass Blowing Classes

Where: Glass by James Michael, 545 W. Siebenthaler Ave., Dayton

When: Every 2nd and 4th Saturday, from October to April

Hours: 1:30 - 4 p.m. (class)

Cost: $135/person

More Info: (937) 567-9966;


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