Brook White, the owner of Flame Run Glass Studio in the downtown Louisville Glassworks building, shares his experience creating glass art installations for luxury homes in the area. He started working with glass in art school 25 years ago and started his own studio called “Glass Brook” in Danville. His studio in the Glassworks building opened up in October 2001. Over the years, he’s done a lot of installations for corporations, but also a fair amount for residential real estate.
The making of these art pieces is quite a sight to behold. “We have a furnace that runs at two thousand degrees Fahrenheit twenty-four hours a day,” White explains. “We have one furnace that holds five hundred pounds of molten glass and another one that holds around three hundred and fifty pounds. We literally have lava, if you will, molten glass in these chambers. We’re able to gather the glass out and add different colors. We are literally creating from the goo — it is about the consistency of honey or molasses — and turning things into tangible objects.”
Homeowners who are interested in placing art glass in their homes can come to the downtown gallery and look at finished pieces they can buy directly or they can create anything a client can dream up. People can bring in pictures or take artists to their home to get suggestions. White adds: “I love it when people say there is no budget. Then what they actually mean is there is a really small budget, but I just wanted to see what you can come up with creatively.”
One of the coolest projects Brook White worked on was for a private home on Cherokee Road in the Highlands. “It was a beautiful, historic home,” he recalls. “They had this area where they wanted a sconce. The wall was also lined with mirrors. It provided a lot of really interesting opportunities to play with the light. We did a metal structure that hung on the wall. Then we made, I would say a hundred to a hundred and fifty different pieces of glass that were then attached to the metal. Inside the metal structure, was the lighting — that was so the thing was able to glow and just had this really nice, blue cast. It would reflect and show off those mirrors.”
Another cool project was done out in Norton Commons. White explains: I had a gentleman approach me. We ended up doing several projects in his home. He saw one of my business cards that had an outdoor sculpture that I had done at a hospital. He was mistaken on the size of it. The scale you couldn’t tell from the business card. He said, ‘I want one of these.’” The sculpture was 17 feet tall. “What we did is we basically were inspired as a floor lamp kind of an idea, something about that height. We made it about five feet tall and scaled all the proportions down. That was where we started.”
From there, Brook White designed a stainless steel formal dining room table with a crisscross pattern in the middle. He describes: “We filled it up with small pieces of glass we had custom made. Then it had a clear, glass top on top of it. When you looked through the table, you could see all these colorful glass pieces.”
“Some of the other pieces we’ve done for homes that have been a popular thing are the chandeliers,” White says. He adds: “We’re able to customize everything. We get it the right scale. People pick out the colors. We do some prototypes and samples. The person, the client, is very involved in the process as far as seeing this from the beginning to the end. We walk them through that process. We can do just about anything.”
Some of his smaller projects are in the $2,000 to $5,000 range, which would be something like “a large bowl-type shape that would have some pieces coming out of it, mounted on a central shaft from the ceiling from the junction box in the ceiling, with lights laying in the bowl.” The average chandelier ranges from $10,000 to $15,000 or even up to $20,000 for a larger space. To put things into perspective, the cost of a small art installation would only cover the gas or electric bill for White’s studio.