“GooseFire” Studio Spotlight
New beginnings are happening in SoCal. In Westminster, California, right off of the 405 Freeway is a
one- of-a-kind multi-faceted center. The GooseFire Center is a unique mesh of glass gallery/glass artist studio.
With 10,000 square feet of space, there’s no telling what limits can be reached in this every increasing industry.
The gallery layout includes viewing windows of the studio for live demos or flame-offs. The 3,000 square foot
studio space is the only one around equipped with a 600-gallon salt-water aquarium, allowing the artist to
soothe his mind while taking rips and contemplating his next piece. This well-planned endeavor has finally
come to fruition with the hard work of Matt Abrams and Adam Whobrey. Stay tuned for upcoming
announcements on shows and events.
“GooseFire Studio” Crew
Adam V, Catrina, Danny, Devin, Hoobs,
Lurch, Nerv, Saki, Slob, Toby, Winston
1. Where are you from and how long have you been a glass artist?
Hoobs: I was born and raised in Southern California. After finishing school, I decided to stay in this
area basically for the weather, the women and the weed. Lol. I started flame working in 2002 at a head shop in
my local city. I spent a couple of years there picking up very basic skills, and then decided to pursue it
independently. That was the best decision of my life.
2. How would you describe your style of work?
Hoobs: I’ve always had been interested in art that looked like something, rather than just abstract
shapes and lines. I mean artist’s that could create something, and make it look so real that it was hard to tell the
difference. Being able to bring a piece of our world or a fantasy to life in whatever medium has always
intrigued me. This is the direction I have tried to take my glass. After ten years of practice, I feel I have finally
acquired the skills to achieve what’s in my head.
3. What do you enjoy most about being part of the functional glass industry?
Hoobs: The greatest thing about this industry is the network of peers, from the artists to the gallery
owners, and to the tool and color manufacturers. Doing this for a living has allowed me to make friends across
the globe, all of who have similar interests and ideals. At this point I couldn’t imagine being a part of any other
Matt: We enjoy that we get to be on the brink of creation. New art is being created everyday that is
breaking down the walls of what we thought was possible with glass. These artists are pushing the limits and
we get to be the ones to promote and sell it. This market is in its infancy and we’re helping to shape and
reinforce its legitimacy of this art.
4. With the end of an era at Cobra Kai and the beginning of the new studio, what are your expectations?
Hoobs: The Cobra Kai studio was a two year journey with my good friend Hops. We built that place
with one goal in mind, to push ourselves and everyone around us to the next level. It was a great success. My
new venture with the boys at GooseFire has been a dream of mine since I first started flame working. A
beautiful glass studio, combined with a beautiful glass gallery is something Southern California has been
missing. We expect over the next couple of years for this Glass Center to become the main glass hub of So Cal.
There will be a constant flow of visiting artists along with the usual residents. Some of the biggest art exhibits
will be held in the gallery, classes with the top names in the industry, and an annual flame-off.
5 What made you want to be part of the functional glass community?
Hoobs: The first hollow form I made on the torch was a pipe and I never looked back. When I started
getting into collecting glass around 1999, glass pipes were just starting to be pushed to new levels. The pieces I
saw in my local galleries literally blew my mind. It was an easy decision for me when I had the opportunity.
Matt: I have been a collector since the late 90’s, but did not open a retail location until 2009. I always
loved collecting glass art and then in 2009 I saw an open retail location in Long Beach and made the plunge. I
opened High Priority in 2010, GooseFire Gallery in 2011 and GooseFire Glass Center in 2014.
6. Whose idea was it and what was the motivation behind creating The GooseFire Center?
Hoobs: It was all kind of great timing. They were looking to move the gallery and I was looking to build
a new studio. We knew combining the two would create something that Southern California had not seen
before. My motivation was finally seeing what I always imagined come to life. There was no way I could have
ever done anything like this on my own. The GooseFire guys really deserve most of the credit for pulling it off.
Matt: I had been thinking about an all inclusive type glass location for a few years. After opening the
original GooseFire in 2010 I knew that there was a market for higher end glass and that our next step had to be
to bring the glass creating process in house. I started the formal process to open GooseFire Glass Center in
December of 2013. We had outgrown our Long Beach GooseFire location and needed warehouse space for our
expanding HighPriorityGlass.com business. I found the Westminster location in February of 2014 and entered
two months of negotiations before finally signing the lease in April. During lease negotiations I approached
Adam Whobrey about the possibility of him moving into the new GooseFire Studio since Hops was moving back
to Philadelphia and the status of Cobra Kai was up in the air. Hoobs and I agreed that he would build his own
shop in GooseFire and that many of the artists currently working at Cobra Kai would move over to GooseFire
7. Describe the process in getting this center up and running.
Hoobs: After the GooseFire boys found the location; it was a long process with the city trying to explain
to them what the glass blowing studio entailed. Final after getting through that, it was some serious
construction. All was completed by December 2014.
Matt: We closed our Long Beach location on April 24, 2014 and proceeded to pack and move our entire
inventory, fixtures and furniture to the new GooseFire during the next week. It took a 15-man team to bubble
wrap and transport all of our glass and fixtures. Construction began on May 1st, which did not end until
November due to unforeseen issues with our contractor. The City of Westminster had never had anyone try to
build a permitted glass facility before so we were forced to work with the city to develop a fire and safety code
relating to our industry. Additionally, fire code required that we hardline all gases from outside the building,
which is ultimately safer but extremely costly.
8. What do you think it will take for the center to be successful?
Hoobs: I feel like we’ve got a great crew put together, a great vibe in the studio and the gallery. That’s
definitely the first step. I’m excited to help bring some of the biggest glass events to So Cal in the near future.
Matt: It is going to take a better job on our part to let the public know we exist. As far as I know we are
the only gallery with an in house studio in existence. Nowhere else can you walk in and see some of the best
glass art in the world and at the same time watch some of the best glassblowers in the world live daily. We
thought we had built something special with the last GooseFire, but we did a poor job making ourselves known
outside the glass world. There is so much more money driving this industry now that we need to stay fresh and
new to stay on top. We really want people to realize that the new GooseFire Glass Center is something that has
not been seen before. Besides the gallery being proactive, we really need the support of the collectors and
glassmakers. The industry has been a little spoiled the past few years with the amount of glass shows and direct
access to the artists. We want people to realize that we are doing something different over here in Orange
County that is definitely worth checking out.