Allard will move glass studio and gallery in late summer
A small rocket ship is emblazoned on each of his glass shop’s T-shirts, popular items for tourists and locals alike to purchase and wear.
And indicative of the growth of Salado Glassworks and artist Gail Allard II. Salado Glassworks purchased the Peddler’s Alley buildings and the .58 acres they sit upon to expand Allard’s gallery and studio.
It’s been several years since the original Peddler’s Alley has had any retail use, but Allard has plans for the 6,000 sq. ft. former granary.
The front of the building will be for an expanded Salado Glassworks location that will have a much larger gallery of his hand blown glass art, as well as the glass and metal art of Aaron Gist and the glass and jewelry art of Sara Whitis. The studio furniture by REVELation Decor’s Allie and Benjamin Guenther and paintings by Chad Hines.
The studio itself will be approximately three times the current cramped quarters in which he has been working and teaching Aaron Gist since November 2012.
Gist is learning the ancient craft in the same way Allard learned it, by doing. Allard recalled how he first came across glassblowing by visiting the Rynoglass studio in Temple and meeting Bob Rhynearson.
Allard worked under Rhynearson for some nine years. He then joined the non-profit Salado Arts Workshop before opening in the small metal building currently housing his gallery and studio.
“We are in such a prime spot, with the beautiful new entrance to Main Street being built,” Allard says of the location just steps off of south Main St. and College Hill.
At the time he opened in Salado, he considered Fredericksburg and other towns in Texas but says he recognized “the potential of what is going on in town and the kind of charm it has going for it.”
And Allard says he wanted to bring some “excitement” to Salado.
So he brought fire.
A couple thousand degrees worth of it, to be exact.
“There is something about the glow of the fire that attracts people of all ages,” he said. “Folks wander in off the highway and see what we create in the front and then make their way to the back....”
And their reactions are terrific, whether they are a child or a grandparent. “For the older generation, it is the fact that we are making something by hand, here on the spot,” Allard said. “For the kids, it is definitely the fire.”
And the transformative art that he creates making everything from large vessels to lamps to hearts to Easter eggs to beer mugs to pumpkins to Christmas ornaments.
“That they can get involved and help create their own one-of-a-kind piece makes it very special and something they will remember for a long time,” he said.
Using social media, billboards and print, Allard has grown the business demonstrably. Enough to have been named the Salado Chamber of Commerce Person of the Year.
His business plan for the expansion will be to improve on what he has already created.
The new location will have an expanded viewing room, a larger gallery space, a party room for groups who want to come and make things, and a home space in the back for his wife Jennifer and son Gail III.
Gail and crew will continue operating in the current location through mid-August, reopening in the new location in September, just in time for making beer mugs for Oktoberfest.