Since 1997, Public Glass has been San Francisco's only public-access glass studio and school. Located in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, the nonprofit arts organization offers a full curriculum of glass courses taught by local and nationally recognized artists, as well as programming for underserved youth and adults, group experiences, and exhibitions.
The Museum Store’s current partnership with Public Glass features their vibrant handcrafted glasses and carafes. These jewel-toned vessels are sold individually so the colors can be mixed and matched.
Photo Credit: Maylight Studio
We wanted to learn more about this organization and their beautiful handmade designs, so we asked Nate Watson, executive director, and DH McNabb, director of projects and design, a few questions.
Q: How did Public Glass get its start?
A: Public Glass was founded in 1997 by three glass artists: Bob Bellucci, Polly Bradbury, and Bryan Bowers. Twenty-five years ago, there were only a handful of glass-making studios in the country dedicated to providing open access to the general public; in fact, Public Glass was the first of its kind out west. Public Glass, like many arts and cultural organizations in the Bay Area, for better or worse, is inextricably linked to the tech economy and has survived the boom-and-bust times by remaining flexible, true to our mission, and grounded in the community of makers who call the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco home.
Q: Who designs and crafts the Public Glass Originals line? What is their background and what inspires their designs?
A: DH designs and makes most of the PG Originals line. There is an essential team of Matt Wesley, Maria Enomoto, Megan Dykema, and Jeanine Parish who assist and make some of the other objects in the line.
DH grew up in Florida, got involved with glass making at Centre College in Kentucky, where he met Nate. He has an MFA in glass from the Rhode Island School of Design and has worked with the material for two decades. He is inspired by functional objects, sunsets and sunrises, nature, physics, and the material of glass itself, and all play to his design sense and artistic practice.
Photo: DH McNabb hand-crafting at Public Glass
Q: Your Hot Glass Cold Beer event sounds like fun and a great way to learn more about your organization. Will it be back?
Public Glass is probably best known for its long-running fundraiser Hot Glass Cold Beer. For over a decade, we’ve invited glass artists from all over the world to come demonstrate their talents to an eager San Francisco audience. This evening of local music, local food, and local brew became one of the best kept secrets in the city and hit its stride in 2019 before the world went into quarantine. If all goes well, Hot Glass Cold Beer will come back in some form in 2022. It may be smaller to begin with, but the synergy that the event created in its diverse crowds and curated partnerships is too good to stop. It brings the entire community together in appreciation of the arts.