Chris Nordin Studios Gallery on Ann St. is an exhibit space for its namesake artist and a rotating series of guest artists whose styles he feels complement his own. A warm and intimate space, with exposed brick walls outfitted with sliding display panels, it was formerly his office.

Nordin also owns the Glass Academy, a studio and shop in Dearborn where he teaches glassblowing and manages a staff that fabricates products like the beer mugs sold at Jolly Pumpkin. He decided to turn his Ann St. office into a gallery when he saw that his creative works in glass, metal, and wood didn’t display well next to the consumer items he sells in Dearborn.

He’s right next door to the WSG Gallery and around the corner from the Gutman Gallery in what Nordin calls Kerrytown’s “mini arts district.” To boost attendance, the three galleries coordinate new exhibit openings. Education is part of Nordin’s mission—he also owns a mobile glassblowing demonstration unit that appears at local arts fairs such as the A2 Artoberfest in October.

Some of Nordin’s pieces are functional, like fanciful candlesticks and domed dessert casings. Others are purely decorative, like a series of branches festooned with leaves, acorns, and nests inspired by the Water Hill neighborhood where he lives. Prices range from several hundred to several thousand dollars.

Nordin produces unique pieces for sale in the gallery, but the majority of his work is by commission for individuals and corporate buyers like Michigan Medicine. He especially enjoys his commission work. “I love that interaction with the client. It’s not about just picking a piece off a pedestal and putting it in your house, but a journey about where that piece comes from.”

A year ago, Nordin took his commission work a step further when he launched Ashes In Art, a business incorporating cremated human remains into glass objects. He uses about ¼ teaspoon of ash in colorful glass orbs called “memory spheres” and other imaginative designs sparked by conversations with clients about their deceased loved ones. A recent commission, a glass ocean scene, included both ashes and sand from Hawaii. Nordin can also incorporate ash into pieces like those displayed in the gallery. Of all his current endeavors, he finds Ashes In Art to be the most inspiring. “I create a piece around that personality and what they loved about them. It’s so much more gratifying than making a decorative piece.” 

Chris Nordin Studios Gallery, 117 E Ann. (313) 683–3363. Thurs. & Fri. noon–4 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and by appointment.,