WE'RE LOVING: Hot Sand Glass Blowing

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New Jersey has always had a rich history of glassblowing. In 1739, The first successful glassblowing studio in America was founded in New Jersey. The local beaches with their generous deposits of fine silica sand, along with plenty of forests for fuel made New Jersey the prime location for more glassblowing studios than any other state.

Keeping with this tradition, Hot Sand was founded in 2007 as New Jersey's first public access glassblowing studio, opening on Ocean Avenue in Asbury Park, NJ. Owners Paul Elyseev and Thomas Stevens started Hot Sand as a home to create their own artistic pieces and share glassmaking with the public. Our walk-In glassblowing started with the now well-loved QuickCast experience during the summer season.

Now a year-round business, people from all walks of life can walk in off the street and choose from a variety of fun objects on our Walk-In Menu including the Blow-A-Drinking Glass, the Paperweight, Blow-A-Ornament, Blow-A-Heart, Blow-An-Egg, Blow-A-Bubble, Blow-An-Apple and you can even Blow-A-Pumpkin!

In 2011, just months before SuperStorm Sandy hit, Hot Sand made the propitious move from its original Boardwalk location to the busy, blossoming Asbury Park Downtown district.

Located currently at 550 Cookman Avenue, Suite 103, Hot Sand enjoys being one of the many aspects of our city that makes Asbury Park such an enjoyable place to visit, live, work and love. 


 

How and when did you get your start?

Paul and Thomas started Hot Sand in 2007. The Asbury Park Boardwalk was a year away from redevelopment. The guys saw a great space under the bandshell, in the 5th Ave Pavillion. It had concrete walls, floor and ceiling and giant windows open to capture the sea breezes. They had a business plan and pitched it to Asbury Partners, then running the Boardwalk. They felt they would be a great fit: activities for kids, put on a great show for people to watch and create lasting memories of a day at the Shore. Five years ago, as Downtown was kicking off, we found a great space and moved the Studio. It was a good move for us. Cookman Ave is incredibly vibrant and fun!

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Inspiration is everywhere! Colors in nature are stunning and glass is an amazing medium to portray them, since it’s transparent. Glass also derives its shape from nature. It usually ‘wants’ to be round. So, it’s fun to play with that idea, and also push it into ‘unnatural’ shapes and challenging to find shapes that it doesn’t really want to go into. 

Why did you choose Asbury Park?

Paul and Thomas both have a long history with Asbury Park. It has been comfortable and rewarding to build this business where we live and to be a part of the renaissance. We can’t think of anywhere else we’d rather be.

Describe your perfect day in Asbury Park?

Start off with a quiet, early morning swim in the ocean. Grab some chicken salad at Frank’s for lunch, then head to the Studio on a bike and blow glass for a couple of hours. Hang out some friends at the Biergarten, then head home to grill dinner in the backyard. It doesn’t get any better than that!

What is your most popular item to make?

We have two items that are real crowd pleasers. People like to make our Drinking Glass. It’s cool because they’re super involved in the making and that piece goes through the full process, where the glass is transferred to a second rod ‘mid-stream’ to finish it off. For folks under 9 yrs old, they like to make hand prints in our sand, then we fill that will molten glass. That’s a cool glass snapshot of your hand on that day.

Kevin O'Shea