Social Encore: Create your own hot date

Feb. 6, 2014 | 0 Comments

BY JERMEL-LYNN QUILLOPO / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Valentine’s Day is next week, and most of the people I talked to have no idea what they are going to do for the special person in their lives.

Blown glass artwork makes for a unique Valetine's Day gift. (Photo courtesy Jermel-Lynn Quillopo)

Blown glass pieces make for unique Valetine’s Day gifts. (Photo courtesy Jermel-Lynn Quillopo)

Me? I hardly participate in the holiday that celebrates love. Sure, I’ve gotten flowers, something sweet to munch on and gone to eat a scrumptious dinner, but flowers eventually lose their bright colors, having too much sweets can make your tummy hurt and dinner on this particular holiday might cost a little more than usual.

So why not do something new with your significant other? Try something you can experience together! Heck, why not something you can make together and take home? Wouldn’t that be the best Valentine’s gift ever?

The best Valentine’s experience I have ever experienced was a literal hot date. I’ve always wanted to do something out of the ordinary and when I learned about Taonga Glass Studio in Kailua, I decided to learn more.

In the heart of Kapa’a Quarry, Taonga Glass Studio sits alongside trade skill warehouses. Behind hard steel doors lies a space waiting to inspire creativity. Having experience as an amateur sculptor, I thought the concept would be similar — boy, was I wrong.

Molten glass is used to create artwork at Taonga Glass Studio in Kailua. (Photo courtesy Jermel-Lynn Quillopo)

Molten glass is used to create artwork at Taonga Glass Studio in Kailua. (Photo courtesy Jermel-Lynn Quillopo)

Glass blowing is a different avenue of expression, and let’s be honest, even though we live in Hawaii and have experienced crazy heat, trying to form beautiful glass pieces while dealing with scorching temperatures makes it really difficult to concentrate.

Taonga Glass Studio owner Edward “Ted” Clark was gracious enough to educate me on the process of how to create blown glass art, which starts with gathering molten hot glass with a hollow steel tube called a blow pipe.

Clark said his passion for art was very evident as a child. However, using glass as a medium to express himself also as served as a way for him to imitate the ocean. Inspired by the world around him, especially his travels between the U.S., New Zealand and Europe, blown glass was something not well-known or popular in Hawaii. Clark felt by creating a business around his passion, he would be able to inspire others, continue his love for the arts as well as teach others how to fall in love with glass.

Clark said the art scene has grown in Hawaii since his studio opened in 2005, and for the past two and a half years personal classes with instructors have been one of their popular options. Clark said because of increased demand, only private classes are available by appointment.

The author at work in Taonga Glass Studio. (Courtesy Jermel-Lynn Quillopo)

The author at work in Taonga Glass Studio. (Courtesy Jermel-Lynn Quillopo)

This month, the following options are available:

» 2-hour Valentine’s Day Special ($150); Feb. 1, 8 and 15
» 2-hour Couples Lesson ($200)
» 4-hour Couples Lesson or 2-hour Double Date Lesson ($350)

The studio also offers group therapy sessions for groups of no more than six people; class length depends on your preference but usually ranges from two to eight hours. This is a perfect option for people who don’t have a significant other and would rather turn what is normally called Valentine’s Day into Single Awareness Day. You can get together and celebrate your single status with other single friends by blowing some steam and creating beautiful art pieces.

Clark and the wonderful glass pieces we created truly made my Valentine’s Day a memorable, interactive and inspiring one. Before you make that dinner reservation or buy that teddy bear, think about keeping the flame lit with this unique date option.
Jermel-Lynn Quillopo is a multi-faceted, energetic individual with experience in both print and broadcast journalism. “Social Encore” aims to tell diverse stories about Hawaii’s food, events and people; share your tips with Jermel via email or follow her on Twitter.

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