Lotton Art Glass

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The only thing hotter than the roaring 2,400-degree oven inside Lotton Art Glass is the unbreakable passion the artist has for his craft.

A stroll through Lotton Art Glass in Crete, a small town about 40 miles south of Chicago, must be done carefully. Not only could a single misstep lead to the shattering of some of the finest blown-glass pieces in the world, but you also might want to take your time just to appreciate all the amazing details.              

At over 80 years old, owner Charles Lotton has built an incredible collection of blown glass artwork in his nearly 50-year career. Since first learning his craft at the Art Institute of Chicago in the 1970s, Charles built a reputation as one of the world's finest glass blowers, soon passing on his skills to his sons, Daniel and David, as well as resident artist Scott Bayless. 

No matter who makes them, the glass shapes crafted right here in Illinois have made their way to the Smithsonian Institution, the Corning Museum of Glass, and the Art Institute itself. As a reflection of the prestige of Lotton's artists, the collective even has its own gallery at 900 N. Michigan building on Chicago's Magnificent Mile.

Charles’ creative switch never shuts off—he turns the visions that come to him at night into works of art in the morning. He doesn’t bother wondering where the inspiration originates; instead, he simply focuses on capturing every idea that pops into his head.

The chemistry of Charles’ glass is unique to Lotton Art Glass, one of the very few studios in the world to start with elements of the earth like sand, soda ash, lime, borax, zinc and metals. By using these elements, Lotton Art Class creates some of the most breathtaking colors that you’ll ever see. 

Lotton Art Glass in Crete is open to the public throughout the week. Don’t miss a chance to witness true artists applying their craft and to fawn over some of the finest glass in the world. 

Discover more Illinois Artisans at Illinois Made.

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