SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Savannah glassblower Ronald Martinez’s parents thought his full-time glass-making artist route wouldn’t last. Especially since his intended college major at Washington State University was engineering and material science. 

Today, Martinez’s hand-blown glass creations are on display at the 4th Annual Savannah Series Art Exhibit at The Mansion on Forsyth Park’s Grand Bohemian Art Gallery up until May 31.  

“For me, I’ve always been a rebel, so it helped me out, but at the same time, it helped that I did well. Going the artistic route, you never expect money to come in, it’s a profession for passion,” Martinez said.

“I thought a Savannah Series would be fabulous because it would allow me to bring in different artists,” said Carmen Aguirre, Grand Bohemians Gallery Director.

A Metter native, Martinez was first introduced to the art of glassblowing in college and had the opportunity to study under some of Washington’s best glassblowers.

He returned to the Savannah area with his family and opened Hostess City Hot Glass, one of the premier glassblowing studios in the South, located in a 2,000-square foot state-of-the-art facility in downtown Savannah’s Historic District. Not only does it have a large studio space, but it also has an attached gallery and a glass coldworking room.

“From all my travels and having been in love with glass I thought to myself one day when we were living in San Francisco, it’s nothing like this back home,” Martinez said. “And that’s what made me decide, maybe I will try it at home and see what happens. Fortunately for me, it worked.”

Not only does Hostess City Hot Glass offer various classes on how to make art from glass, they also have pieces that are for sale. Martinez also makes and sells lighting pieces such as chandeliers, sconces and table lamps.

“My main thing I’m focusing on now is on my lighting products. It’s something that I’ve always been interested in, I’m trying to get back to those things that I really love to do” said Martinez.

Martinez is also fond of his monthly Savannah Glass Hunt and considers it to be a way of giving back to Savannah and its citizens. 

“All the love that I got since I got back from Savannah, it’s incredible. For me, to have the Savannah Glass Hunt that we do every month, it’s my payment to Savannah and the people who live in it. That’s why I hide all of those little mementos in the park and I got a great reception out of that.  It’s giving back to the city that I love.” Martinez continued, “We hide glass items like bowls, glasses etc. all over the park and we give them clues to where it is until we actually put them out there.  I think I’m addicted more to the reaction I get from kids fighting over things they can find.”

In talking about what he enjoys most about glass blowing, Martinez said,

“It’s the material itself. In nature a lot of human beings, including myself, I’m a very controlled individual.  I like to control things. If I don’t have any input in it, I get so lost. But with glass, I can’t do that. It’s a reverse of what I’m doing, that I’m good at.”

He continued, “I had to relearn everything and that’s the challenge of it. The more you try to control it, the more it fights you back but if you go with the flow, if you go with the process, that will work well for you. It’s a specific type of people that gets into glass blowing.”

For more information about Hostess City Hot Glass visit Hostess City Hot Glass | Savannah Glassblowing Classes.

More information about the 4th Annual Savannah Series Art Exhibit at The Mansion on Forsyth Park’s Grand Bohemian Art Gallery can be found here.