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Glass Ripples Opens Doors: New business brings studio space and artisan kitchenware shop to Somerville

Updated: May 11

A glass-fusing studio and artisan kitchenware store is opening its doors in Davis Square on May 2. The woman-owned business, Glass Ripples, moved into the space at 200 Elm Street that previously housed Diaper Lab. Its owner hopes to create a space for small-scale artists to make and sell work.

Glass Ripples a few weeks before opening. Credit: Jason Pramas.

Shop-owner Sifan—who asked to go by her first name only—was inspired to create Glass Ripples when she saw people on Instagram posting about making ceramics from home studios during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. She too worked out of her home and made a hobby out of collecting glassware. Between the two pastimes, she had built up a large collection of pieces but had nowhere to display it. 


She was also attuned to Boston’s lack of gallery space in comparison to her former home, New York City. Sifan attended Columbia University in New York to study arts management. There, she said, there were galleries tucked into every corner. When Sifan’s wife Emily—who also preferred to go by her first name only—was accepted to Tufts University’s dental program, the two relocated and now live in Allston. “I just realized that Boston [does not have] as much art stuff here,” said Sifan. 


Sifan and Emily have been renovating the space themselves for about seven months. “It was a lot of work,” said Sifan. Neither she nor Emily had experience renovating buildings and the process did not go as smoothly as they had envisioned. 


Colored glass sheets. Credit: Sifan.

The previous tenants, a baby-product supply store that vacated the building to move to a fully online business model, left behind its decorations: green and brown walls, and poorly maintained floors. Brown wall-to-wall carpeting from the previous design was removed before Sifan and Emily came in, but it revealed a concrete floor in bad condition below.


Sifan hired a contractor to pour a new floor, but the results were terrible, with the concrete bubbling and cracking as it dried. Neither Sifan nor Emily knew how to put in a floor, but the duo turned to YouTube to learn. They ripped up what the contractor had botched and redid it themselves. The process took about two months but was a success. 


After that, it was painting walls, changing ceiling lights, and moving in furniture, which Sifan said was a breeze in comparison. The interior now has a fresh, bright feel, thanks to newly white walls, a retro fridge, and colorful displays of glassware and ceramics. The exterior is a blue and white mural. 


The shop is one room, half of which will be a studio where Sifan will run glass fusing workshops, and half of which will house product displays. The workspace is a kiln, a wall of tools, and a table big enough to fit about four to six people at a time. Sifan will teach workshops here herself.


Though the shop is not yet open, it is already filled with work from a variety of artists from around the world. Sifan said she has pieces from studios in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New York, as well as a few Massachusetts-based artists. She would like to have more local artists on display but is still working to find the right people to work with. 


Down the line, Sifan said she also hopes to host exhibits of local artists’ work at Glass Ripples.


 

Glass Ripples, 200 Elm St., Somerville. Opening May 2. Sign up for launch info at glassripples.com.

 

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