Boise Art Glass Owner Filip Vogelpohl Brings Community Together with His Love of Glassblowing
Getting local artist Filip Vogelpohl to talk about himself is not easy. Genuine and friendly, but reluctant to speak about his successes as an artist and a businessman, his soft-spoken humility only adds to his charm. Fortunately, with some coaxing, he told Boise Lifestyle about himself and his art, and we discovered a treasure in his love for the community.
Filip has been blowing glass for half his life. He discovered glassblowing while visiting a friend in Eugene, Oregon. The friend lived next door to a glass studio, and, on a whim, Filip decided to try it out. The medium hooked him from the outset, and he knew it was what he wanted to do.
He spent years traveling all over, studying with different artists as far away as New Jersey and Philadelphia. Filip sought out anyone who could teach him technique and help him hone his craft.
From his first glass production in a trailer, he progressed through several locations: a garage, his original commercial space off of Orchard Street, Ming Studios at Sixth and Myrtle, and finally to the property he now co-owns with Delia Dante (of Fire Fusion Studio), in the historic Bogie Building downtown.
Tidy and well-organized, the sizable studio is roomy and inviting. The two businesses share the space beautifully. The arrangement arose out of creative problem-solving as Filip outgrew Ming Studios. He needed a bigger building but what he envisioned was financially out of reach. He approached Delia, and the two studios bought the Bogie Building together. They are separate ventures, but they share the space in a way that is companionable and complementary, and they have a single gallery between them where pieces from both studios can be purchased. This arrangement allows both businesses to thrive.
Boise Art Glass sells blown glass and torchwork production pieces in 48 stores and galleries across the country. The staff does custom work and commissions for home or business, including chandeliers, lighting, sculpture, urns and memorial (ash) pieces. Filip’s work is featured at various high-end businesses around town, including the many lovely light fixtures and wall sconces at the Inn at 500 Capitol.
He also hides Easter eggs downtown every year. For a week before Easter, one colorful glass egg is hidden and a clue posted each day on the Boise Art Glass Facebook page. Finders, keepers! (Happy hunting!) Hidden treasure notwithstanding, the best thing about Boise Art Glass is the classes it offers.
Boise Art Glass offers hands-on classes for ages 8 and up. From single one-hour sessions to classes that last weeks, there are several options to learn the art or simply try it out. Filip is passionate about education and offers special discounts for education-related groups, whether it’s a field trip, Scouts or other nonprofit organizations, team-building or homeschoolers trying something new. Filip is excited for the opportunity to share the art he loves. The classes are a hit too, with people traveling from all over the country. Don’t want to spend money on a class? The public is always welcome to watch for free.
Filip moved to Boise as a 10-year-old refugee, whose parents were escaping communism in Prague. He has seen the Treasure Valley grow up alongside him, and, for 15 years, it has been his dream to bring the art form he loves to the community.
The warmth of hot glass and fired kilns makes a cozy interlude amidst other downtown pursuits. Friendly people, interesting chatter and beautiful things to peruse—what are you waiting for? Boise Art Glass is sitting there, a giant Easter egg, just waiting to be discovered. Come gather!