KINGSTON — The User Friendly Gallery, Functional and Decorative Glass shop has opened up at the Old Kingston Hotel for the summer through Labor Day weekend.
The gallery opened June 1. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, with the focus on handmade and affordable glass that includes drinking glasses, bowls, vases and straws. Weather permitting, glass torchworking demonstrations will be shown throughout the summer.
Jennifer Caldwell, one of the co-owners of the gallery, credits traveling as her inspiration to start a local glass shop.
“We travel a lot when we teach and each place we visit we try to take something handmade home that can be a reminder of the place we were at,” Caldwell said.
“I create glass every day. It’s my life. Glass is a user-friendly material and can be transformed into many things for so many uses.”
Everything appearing in the gallery is for sale and intended for everyday use, Caldwell said, and every piece is handmade. A half-dozen artists contribute. A fun feature of the gallery is the glass torch demonstrations. Kingston glass artist Robin Hoerth will be creating solid glass sculptures with the torch at the entrance of the building.
In terms of visitor interest, Caldwell said things are going well in the early stages of the opening.
“The gallery is still very new but we are finding people are spending a lot of time when they visit,” Caldwell said. “The gallery is located in one of the oldest buildings in town. The Old Kingston Hotel was built over 120 years ago.”
When asked why the gallery is only seasonal, Caldwell replied, “We have to get back to making glass and traveling before the rain comes and we melt.”