ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) -- The COVID-19 pandemic is taking its toll on San Diego's art community — just ask James Stone, the owner of Stone & Glass in Escondido. He makes his living as a glassblower and certainly knows what it's like to feel the heat.
"When it comes to August, it will get to 125 degrees in here," says Stone, referencing the studio where he creates his work. However, he is used to it, as he has been blowing glass for quite some time, in fact, he says he was destined to be a glassblower
"I always like to start by telling people that I was born in Flushing Hospital in Flushing, New York. I was delivered by Dr. Glass," Stone says.
James became interested in glassblowing in the 1980s, after taking some classes at Palomar College. He said it didn't take long before he was hooked.
"It's the flame, the flame, the flame is life, and the first time you get around the flame you can't get away from it," Stone said.
His creations are simply mind-blowing. The colors and shapes are all beautiful works of art.
"When I began in 1986, if you didn't know the formula, to take sand and then make sand into glass, you didn't blow glass," he says.
But just like many other professions, the glassblowing industry has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
"It's broken my heart , oh my god it's broken my heart. COVID has changed my business, it's changed the way we do business. We usually have classes of 6 to 10 people, but because of COVID, those classes are all gone," said Stone.
So in order to keep his business alive, Stone & Glass has started a "Collectors Club."
"This is the first edition," James says while holding up two drinking glasses. "This is COVID blue, it's very inexpensive. The little bit of money you commit to owning this fine artwork, helps keep us open."
Stone & Glass is currently holding private classes. For more information, click here.