Katie Perttunen/Daily Globe
DOUG KIKKEBUSCH pulls points at his flame working studio and gallery in Bessemer on Tuesday. The piece he is working on will be a Christmas ornament when finished, he said.
BESSEMER - Kikkebusch Glassworks, a glass-blowing studio and art gallery, opened in Bessemer Nov. 23 in the old Presbyterian Church.
Holiday customer traffic was good all weekend, Doug Kikkebusch, owner and glassblower, said.
"It was a banner day Friday, and we had a steady stream of people all weekend," Kikkebusch said. "It exceeded my expectations."
Kikkebusch started looking for a building for his studio and gallery space when he moved to the area from Chicago a couple years ago. He was sold the building for a dollar in September by the city of Bessemer. Bessemer had sought proposals to repurpose the building.
As a former carpenter with 25 years of experience, Kikkebusch knew he had the experience to revamp the building and make it suit his business' needs.
The basement required gutting because of seepage and mold issues, he said. Kikkebusch painted the walls on the main floor, pulled up the carpet and built the display furniture for the gallery.
"It didn't take too much to open the doors," Kikkebusch said. "I'm lucky it was in the condition it was in."
Kikkebusch has been flame-working glass for six years, an art form he learned in Chicago from neighbors of his art gallery there, Gallery X. He also creates metal sculptures.
Other artists have paintings, weaving and glass fusion for sale in the gallery. In addition to his glass-blowing studio on the first floor, Kikkebusch plans on incorporating space for glass fusion in the gallery.