Glassblower to open Vibe Gallery | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Glassblower to open Vibe Gallery

Susan Wood

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Robert Fleming owns The Vibe Gallery, a custom glass-blowing shop.

Robert Fleming believes there’s a place in South Lake Tahoe to appreciate the art of glass blowing.

The South Shore man will open a shop on Emerald Bay Road next month just for that cause. Fleming, who’s dabbled in the art for a decade, took over a 2,700-square-foot place where Elephant Music once sat.

In front, the Vibe Gallery will feature lamps, goblets, bracelets, smoking accessories and artwork for sale, along with T-shirts, drums and Indonesian imports. In back, Fleming fires up the kiln – usually working on several projects. He plans to expand and rent out the space for $350 a month to other glass blowers in town. Right now, he has eight people who drop in to work on their pieces. Later on, he intends to provide tours and demonstrations.

“When I found this building, I knew I had to have it,” he said. His dream of a glass-blowing business was coming true.

Fleming is serious about the art and the business – investing an estimated $50,000 in start-up costs. One kiln alone can run about $2,000.

Glass blowing has positioned itself as an international art form for at least a century. In the United States, the art went out on display in households in the 1950s.

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Since then, the art form known for its smooth surfaces and bright colors has taken off in the West. Fleming buys his raw materials from all over the world, but he prefers to buy American glass products. He learned the craft in Ashland, Ore. and now wants to share it with others.

“If people are fully motivated, they can learn it in three months,” he said.

The Vibe Gallery, which can be reached at (530) 541-4600, is located at 854 Emerald Bay Road.