Thomas Long: St. Augustine Glassblower

By Courtney Cox |

Propped up near Vilano Beach is where glassblowing artist, Thomas Long resides with his wife, Lahib Jaddo and dog, Einstein.

Their home, with unique purple barn doors serving as entry to the garage or “Hot Shop” serves as more than a house, but as a studio and workspace for both Long and Jaddo, who is also an artist.

The “Hot Shop” is where Long works his artistic glassblowing skills and is named appropriately as such because of the intense heat created by making his masterpieces. In the summer, he closes the “Hot Shop” down because it gets too hot, Long said. However, the creativity in this glassblower’s mind continues year-round and never ceases to amaze.

Thomas Long, a St. Augustine glassblower, stands in front of a gallery inside his home that showcases his work and his wife’s mermaid painting. Long began blowing glass in 1986.
Long pulls a molten piece of glass out of a furnace in his at-home studio. He put an addition on his house so he could have a space at home to create.
“It’s a grueling way to make a living,” Long said. He has been have issues with his neck and shoulders.
Long begins to carefully cut off the unwanted glass. His assistant cleaned up after each maneuver.
Long’s studio is hot in the summer months and “too hot” to create glass blown pieces in, he said. He doesn’t work on projects in the summer months because of the intense heat, he said
“As an artist , when you start to think of it from a business perspective, it kind of, for me, kills your creativity,” Long said. “‘Networking’ is like a dirty word.”
Long’s assistant blows the glass while Long spins and shapes it. They were working on pieces for a commission in Orlando, Florida.
Most of Long’s designs are custom for specific spaces. He welds framing for when he goes to mount his pieces.
Long stares into the heat. He then carefully pulls his glass piece out.
“It’s hard enough making a living as an artist,” Long said.
Long gets commissions all over the country. He likes to install his work himself. Long traveled as far as Hong Kong to install a custom piece, he said.
Long mainly does commissions, but has glass-blown art in the Palm Gallery on Aviles Street.
Long and his dog, Einstein, sit in front of a sign he made. Glass-blown eyeballs are something Long enjoys to make, but he said they usually aren’t incorporated in pieces made for others.
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