Making It: Playing with Fire in Larchmere Creates Beautiful Art

Making It

BUSINESS: Larchmere Fire Works

MAKERS: Tina Haldiman and Cassidy Anderson

MEETING IN CLEVELAND: Both Cassidy Anderson, a blacksmith, and Tina Haldiman, a glassblower, were fascinated by their craft at a young age. Anderson started to learn more about blacksmithing and welding as he was growing up in Rhode Island, then relocated to Cleveland to start working at the Glass Bubble Project in Ohio City, which his father, Chris, had helped open up 20 years ago. Haldiman had already been an artist there for several years, and the two formed a close bond.

AN ARTIST ALL ALONG: Tina Haldiman originally studied to become an art teacher, but was discouraged by all the red tape that came along with the profession. Always intrigued with the art of glassblowing, the first time she tried it, she knew it was her calling. Learning, at first, was a slow process.  “At the point when I started glassblowing, I was a single mom with five kids. They were all still young,” Haldiman explained.  “The many years I was teaching and interning at the Glass Bubble were very limited for me because I was taking care of children. My kids are all grown up now, so I get to start a new chapter in my life, and it’s this.”

MASTER OF METAL: While at the Glass Bubble Project, Halidman introduced Cassidy Anderson to his first blacksmithing master, Art Wolfe. “She knew I was interested in the metal, and got me interested in working with [Wolfe],” Anderson said. Wolfe saw something in him that he couldn’t ignore. “He told me a couple of months later, ‘You’re like a diamond in the rough. You just need a little bit of polishing, and you’re good’.” Anderson continued learning his craft mainly from the color and feel of the metal, not just from knowing the temperature. “How much color it has in one spot versus another will create a different twist or distortion.”

TEACHING TEAM: Larchmere Fire Works is a unique studio that preserves the centuries-old techniques of glassblowing and blacksmithing not just by demonstrating the art, but by offering classes to inspire and teach a whole new generation. For both Haldiman and Anderson, teaching is their favorite part. “It’s so fun to see a person, and how excited they get. And the excitement of when they’ll get to see their finished piece when it’s cold,” Haldiman said. “To me, that’s the best part. I like blowing glass, but I love teaching glass.”

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