Since 1992, a team of professional glassblowers has been creating artisanal work at MV Glassworks on State Road in West Tisbury. The studio/shop offers both standard designs that they developed and make onsite at the studio, as well as unique sculptural works of art. Each piece — from glasses, vases, and bowls to decorative tabletop ornamental pieces like an elegant clear glass pear or a colorful set of pumpkins — is a marvel of design and craftsmanship.
A visit to the studio shop offers a chance to see the artisans at work. The Glassworks currently employs four full-time glassblowers, all of whom have at least fifteen years of experience in the traditional craft. The business is divided into three sections — a shop and two galleries. The lower gallery features production works and design lines in multiple colors and size variations. The upstairs gallery offers a rotating selection of unique sculptural pieces.
Owners Andrew and Susan Magdanz have been in the glass business since the early 1970s. After running a private studio in Cambridge for many years, in 1992 they decided to bring locally made glass to the island that has been their summer home for decades.
In recent years, they have put into place some sustainable practices to reduce the business’ carbon footprint. “We used to power our equipment with propane, but the technology for electric furnaces has advanced dramatically, and we switched to electric in 2021,” studio manager Wil Sideman says. “Our primary energy source now is electric.”
Last year the Glassworks added solar panels to the roof to cut back on their grid usage. “It’s something we felt very passionate about,” Sideman says.
The Glassworks is dedicated to offering internship opportunities to local students. They also bring in off-Island glassblowers every summer and run a visiting artist program. “It’s beneficial for the community, as well as supporting the glassblowing community at large,” says Sideman, who adds that education is a major component of the business’ mission. “We have lots of different projects and special events going on throughout the year where people can watch and explore,” he says. “There are sometimes visitors — kids or adults — who come and hang out all day.”