Gulfport is known for its hidden gems. A well-known, talented and accomplished artist, Owen Pach, is one of those gems.
Pach is a glass artist, blacksmith and sculptor, among the many other talents he's perfected in his lifetime. Pach opened his studio on 29th Ave S. in Gulfport more than three years ago. Since then, residents and artists alike have come to learn about Pach's countless awards and accomplishments at art shows around the county.
Currently Pach's glass art is priced anywhere from $25 to $3,000.
"There's something for everybody," he said.
In the 1980s and '90s, Pach showed and earned top awards at shows in North Carolina, South Carolina, Vermont, Florida, New York, Missouri and Pennsylvania, just to name a few.
In addition to traveling and sharing his gift, Pach became a teaching assistant, demonstrator, builder, apprentice and more. He co-founded and built East Falls Glassworks in Philadelphia in 2006. He established the first fused glass program at Hillsborough Community College at the Ybor City Campus in the 1980s and he started and participated in fused glass classes at “Pachwork Studios” in Ybor City from 1985-87.
"I'm just a guy making work," Pach said modestly.
Although he hasn't shown at an art show in about eight years, Pach's work continues to attract new audiences and new collectors.
Pach helped design and build the glass blowing "hot shop" at the Morean Arts Center in downtown St. Petersburg in 2009. In the fall of 2010, Pach's collection of glass vessels and sculptures was displayed at the Tampa International Airport in the renovated art gallery.
Recently, Pach has given back to the community by donating artwork for the auction at the annual Gecko Ball the past two years. Pach has joined one of the city's respected business organizations, The Gulfport Merchants Association, and recently became the Vice President of the non-profit.
Currently, Pach is designing a piece of public art to be displayed at on Beach Blvd. and 28th Ave S.
While Pach is known for his glass art, he is also an expert with wood, steel and stone. He says he's always been good with his hands. Pach can build just about anything. He designed and built his entire studio in Gulfport. When he's not creating art, he's working on projects, building cabinets, furnaces and more.
Again, Pach is known for his glass art. So, you would think he's in his studio creating masterpieces out of molten glass 24/7 but in fact, Pach has yet to build a "hot shop" or furnace in his studio. He blows glass about four to five times a year, renting time and the use of furnaces to create his signature pieces.
Pach now has decided to build a "hot shop" with a twist.
"I'll be a mobile hot shop," says Pach.
This will allow him to demonstrate his talent at festivals and schools in Tampa Bay and across Florida. After all, Pach has spent years perfecting his technique and teaching the next generation of artists how to blow glass as well.
"If I inspired one person, that would be awesome," Pach said.
Pach has taken part in the Great American Teach-In the past several years and hopes to soon take a mobile hot shop around to show schoolchildren what he does.
"I love sharing what I do."
For now, you can stop by Owen Pach's studio at 5437 D. 29th Ave S. in Gulfport. Pach usually has the doors open during the Art Walks. And he says anytime it's open, people are welcome to stop by and introduce themselves.
"I don't plan on going anywhere," Pach said.