Sure most people don't have a clue what they want to be when they grow up as a young teenager, but that's most people. Carlyn Ray, who recently launched one of the most exciting new businesses in the Design District isn't most people, and that's why, at age 14 after seeing a Dale Chihuly exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art, she knew exactly what she wanted to do. After years of study, travel and the honing of her beautiful craft (including time with Chihuly at his school in Washington), Ray has returned to Dallas to share her passion for glass-blowing with the Dallas community. Ray's studio/event/workshop/gallery/and so much more, Carlyn Ray Designs, is now open and located at 1820 Irving Boulevard in a large former warehouse space. She uses the space to showcase not only completed pieces, yes, there is usually a limited number of pieces for sale in her gallery at any given time, but also as a workshop where anyone can drop in and see Ray and her team at work.
Guests are also invited to public shows the first Fridays and second Saturdays of every month to see the process in action (kids welcome too although as the night goes on the information gets more dense so come early). In writing about Carlyn Ray I would be remiss to not mention her wonderful initiative called Art Reaching Out (ARO), in which Ray uses her background as an artist to encourage children to engage with their community through creative projects. Ray's long-term goal is to build a fully functioning non-profit arts center. The center would teach trade techniques to young people, house an artist-in-residence program and have the ability to bring in other non-profits to educate parents while Ray and her ARO team work with children.
Learn more about Ray and her work by visiting her website. And when you have time, stop by her space and visit; whether you're interested in learning more about the process, commissioning a piece or simply seeing her signature glass weavings.