What a find: the Matthew Cummings Studio at 131 Central in the heart of downtown Knoxville — our final stop on our Dogwood Art DeTour for 2015! Never even knew this place existed in the Old City, even though we’d dined at neighboring Crown and Goose and passed it on the way to several Rhythm ‘n Blooms venues along nearby Jackson Avenue.
But the sight of Finer Thoughts (Blue Spade) towering near the front window reassured us we were not only in the right place, but one of note as well. Glass artists Matthew Cummings (studio owner) and Sam Meketon greeted us. (Another employee, Thoryn Ziemba, was unable to be there.)
Matthew and Sam immediately began answering our questions. Like how do you get those fine threads into the glass? Well, you take a colored strand of glass, pull it out, fold it over, repeat, Matthew told us.
And the effect is stunning. We moved in for closer looks.
We love to try new techniques, and art is our passion, Matthew told us. We stood mesmerized by the details in the pieces on display. But sometimes we have to think of ways to pay the bills.
So about four days a week, we make glassware. Matthew pointed to a row of hand-blown drinking glasses along a ledge. And we could tell right off this was unique stuff. Slightly wavy. A little bit thick. Good to hold. We call our business Pretentious Beer Glass Company, Matthew added, and we blow each piece on a hollow blowpipe, shape it with pads of wet newspaper or wooden tools, and then grind the bottoms flat. We hand sign each piece. (For more info on how they do this, click here.)
Which one is your best seller? I asked. Well, that would be the Dual Beer Glass, Matthew said as he stepped forward and picked up a glass with a divider piece. You know like for a black and tan. (Bert nodded. He knew.)
And, Matthew added, we’re expanding. When you come back, you’ll see we’re adding a downtown brewery just on the other side of this showroom. (Love that downtown progress.)
On the way out, we took a closer look at Sam’s and Thoryn’s art: beautifully crafted pieces with infused colors, sensuous shapes. Would make enviable additions for anyone’s art collection.
We noted how glad we were that the Dogwood Arts DeTour Committee chaired by Matt Salley and Marcia Goldenstein had selected this venue for the tour. It’s definitely one of a kind. And right in our own hometown.
For more information:
Matthew Cummings Studio, 131/133 S. Central Street, Knoxville, TN 37902; 865-688-0345;
Pretentious Beer Glass on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/PretentiousBeerGlass
Facebook: Matthew Cummings Sculptor: https://www.facebook.com/MatthewCummingsSculptor
If you missed any of our stops along the Dogwood Art DeTour, here’s a recap of what we saw.
- Saw Works Brewing Company: Dogwood Art DeTour 2015
- Born, raised, made in Knoxville: Marc Nelson Denim
- Art DeTour 2015 at White Fox Beads and Davis Studio
- The art of Melanie Wood: Dogwood Art DeTour 2015
- The art of Diana Dee: Dogwood Arts Art DeTour 2015
We’d love to know what you thought about the DeTour. Leave us a comment below. And thanks for touring with us.
Rusha and Bert Sams