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Made For Knoxville: Pretentious Glass brings the heat in the Old City

The one-of-a-kind glass blowing shop and brewery has strong roots in the Maker City. Owner Matthew Cummings knows the quality of the products speaks for itself.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — In the Maker City, there is no shortage of businesses that are "Made for Knoxville." Pretentious Glass in the Old City is bringing the heat with handcrafted products.

Inside the artisan shop right off the sidewalk, Matthew Cummings gives off a constant glow. He's the brains behind Pretentious Glass and believes in the mission of the Maker City.

"But this is one of the places you can come and just soak in like this is all maker makerdom," Cummings said. Makerness? Sure, we're gonna go with that. Makerness."

He's always had a creative passion. In college, he thought his plan was clear. He wanted to be an architect, but a glass class changed his mind.

"I had to take a glass elective begrudgingly," Cummings said. I was not interested in it, I did not care about it. I took one class and immediately fell in love with it. The heat, the intensity, the teamwork. I changed my major in one class."

That major change led him to Knoxville, where he opened up his glass blowing shop and brewery.

"We are the only place in the world where you can come in, drink beer made in-house at our brewery, out of glasses made in-house and watch everything being produced," Cummings said.

Business is blowing up. Cummings believes the shop will sell out of everything they make this holiday season.

As soon as items are listed online, people jump at the chance to buy the handcrafted glass.

"One of the things that makes it so hard is there's no room for error," Cummings said.

The newest breakthrough is an in-person gallery where locals can stop by to shop on South Central Street.

"When you buy from a maker, you support them," Cummings said. "You're helping somebody directly that you can look at and make a difference in their lives."

Ornaments, glass Christmas trees, flowers, and drinking glasses all tell the story of the artisans in charge and the quality of the glassware.

"I think the maker culture in Knoxville is one of the things that makes Knoxville so special," Cummings said.

Cummings' creativity in the Scruffy City will keep burning one project at a time.

If you want to see it all in action, there are live glassblowing demos from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night.

Made For Knoxville segments are done in partnership with the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center.

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