Solar Flare marks 1st anniversary in Steamboat, hosts Netflix glassblowing show contestant for live demonstration |

Solar Flare marks 1st anniversary in Steamboat, hosts Netflix glassblowing show contestant for live demonstration

Caitlin and Kirk Whitten bring their own artistic flair to Old Town Square in downtown Steamboat Springs with their business, Solar Flare Glasswork & Design.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Downtown Steamboat Springs-based Solar Flare Glasswork and Design has just marked its first full year in the Yampa Valley, and to celebrate, the studio’s First Friday Artwalk live demonstration will be extra special. 

The studio, owned and operated by glassblowers Caitlin Whitten and her husband, Kirk, was established in 2008 in southern Colorado before the couple made the move north to join the Steamboat community. Solar Flare offers a variety of classes and birthday parties for ages 9 and older, as well as memorial weights, life casting, holiday ornaments and gifts. They maintain an emphasis on sustainable materials and practices and supporting artisans. 

Soon after the studio’s Steamboat opening, a Washington-based glassblower with friends in the area got in contact with the studio and asked whether or not the Whittens wanted to do a collaboration.

The artist’s name is Edgar Valentine, a 20-something glassblower with Tacoma Glassblowing Studio, who enjoys traveling to and working with glassblowing studios. Earlier this year, Valentine was a contestant on “Blown Away,” the Netflix series about glassblowing. 

“We’re really excited to work with him,” Caitlin Whitten said. “In glassblowing, you only have a limited amount of time, because the glass cools so quickly, and it’s a fast-paced process, so it’s a team effort.” 

If you go

What: Collaborative glassblowing demonstration during First Friday Artwalk
When: 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6
Where: Solar Flare Glassworks and Design, 635 Lincoln Ave., Suite M

Solar Flare typically produces tiny glass snowmen sculptures. With Valentine there — who’s skilled at building masks and hats, including cowboy hats — they’re planning a collaborative snowman in a cowboy hat, around 2 feet tall. The collaboration will take place during a live demonstration during First Friday Artwalk on Dec. 6. 

Back in Washington, Valentine is one of seven artists in his studio, and the group devotes time each week to collaborative projects.

“It’s great to have that time to advance our skills and push each other,” Valentine said. 

“Heron” by Edgar Valentine
Courtesy photo

The newly formed team of glassblowers hopes that the live demonstration of their craft will spark curiosity and inspiration in new potential artists. 

“That’s really our whole mission — to spread the love of glass-making, to inspire a whole new generation and keep the art form alive,” Whitten said. 

Solar Flare plans to host several more featured artists during First Friday Artwalks throughout the summer months.

“Blank Face” by Edgar Valentine.
Courtesy photo
Edgar Valentine, a contestant on “Blown Away: Season 1,” will be the guest artist at Solar Flare Glassworks and Design during the Friday, Dec. 6, First Friday Artwalk in Steamboat Springs for a collaborative live glassblowing demonstration.

Julia Ben-Asher is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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