From blistering furnaces to toxic chemicals, glassblowing is not for the faint of heart, and has historically been a male-dominated craft. But while women glassblowers may be small in number, their talents are tremendous. Move over, Dale Chihuly: These women are a cut above the rest.
Andi Kovel Co-founder of Portland, Oregon-based Esque Studio, Kovel creates covetable design objects with wit and humor. Witness her Wax Collector candleholder ($300): The wax from a burning taper drips into the hollow reservoir, creating an ever-evolving artwork certain to spark cocktail-party conversation.
Marie Brandolini A member of one of Italy's most prominent families, Countess Brandolini crafts playful vases and drinking glasses--sold under the label Laguna B--from her Murano studio. Her signature hand-blown Goti tumblers ($94 and up) come in an array of kaleidoscopic patterns, and no two pieces are exactly alike.
Lindsey Adelman Adelman's arresting glass-and-brass lighting fixtures almost look otherworldly, and exude a mod, mid-century cool. Her work recently won rave reviews at Milan's prestigious furniture fair, the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, and off-the-rack works can be bought at Roll & Hill, Matter and The Future Perfect. Be warned though, as prices can run into the tens of thousands.