About the Artist:
Donald J. Schneider, Glass Artist & Instructor
1949 – 2016
A Diverse Past: Weaving the Threads of Art
Don was born in Detroit, Michigan, USA, in 1949 and received his Bachelors degree in Music Education from Eastern Michigan University in 1972. While teaching music at the Friends School, a Quaker school in Detroit, he became interested in textiles after being introduced to rug hooking by Bob Kaiser at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. After leaving his teaching position, Don worked briefly for a boat sail loft - a position that combined his interests in sailing and textiles.
A Challenge Opens New Doors
While continuing with his interest in rug making, Bob Boureaussa, the "Village" head glassblower, challenged Don to try glass blowing. He became fascinated with the magical medium at the furnaces of the Sandwich Glass Plant, now known as The Glass Shop of Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford. During the nation's Bicentennial, Don worked as a glassblower for the Village honing the skills of the craft.
A Passion Becomes a Career
Two years later Don founded York Street Glassworks in Plymouth, Michigan (originally with two partners, and eventually as sole proprietor). He briefly moved the studio to a converted fox tower in Beulah, Michigan, eventually returning to the Plymouth location in the early 1990s.
Evolution of The Glassworks
Feeling the need for a larger space, Don converted his former residence on Deer Street in downtown Plymouth to a gallery, adding 2,500 sq. ft. of studio space with full glassblowing, flameworking and cold working facilities. The new gallery and studios were renamed simply "The Glassworks." Don continued to enjoy working with glass and offering classes for beginners and advanced-level artists. He found it very satisfying to introduce students to the wonders of molten glass and the possibilities of this ancient art form.
Don's Former Alter Ego: Produce Peddler
A third interest, the love of Detroit and its farmers' market, was served by Don's role as a vendor on Saturdays at Eastern Market, the largest and oldest continuously operating public market in the United States. Don was honored and privileged to represent the longest operating, family-owned stall (Lux Produce) on the Eastern Market. Don sold many varieties of exotic mushrooms, (hence the moniker "The Mushroom Man,") and premium produce from spring mix to tropical and subtropical fruits, vegetables and other rare delicacies. Don retired from Eastern Market in April 2014 to pursue his passion for glass full time.