When I recently visited Arribas Brothers in the Disney Springs Marketplace, I arrived somewhat unannounced. I was there to interview artisan Jerry Beasly after hearing about the many guest compliments he’s received during his short year and half working at the long-standing shop. I was hoping to find out what his secret was, but it turns out, no interview was required … I caught him in the act: he was entertaining young guests, explaining how glass blowing works, and making them laugh as he showed them the one-of-a-kind turtle he was working on. They were entranced, and frankly, I was too.
Once Jerry realized I was there, he took a few minutes to chat with me about his history and his current role where he relishes the opportunity to inspire creativity. Jerry’s interest in glass blowing started 17 years ago, “I was at a big state fair and I saw an artist working with a torch and flame. I was in awe. At the time, I was an artist who dabbled in woodworking, pottery and even fire-dancing, but this was something new. I started with a book from the library on ‘Scientific Glass Blowing’ and spent a lot of time practicing. In this medium, you’ve got to keep pushing yourself.”
While the art is certainly its own reward, for Jerry, the guests are his favorite part of the job. “People are so happy to see you; they come here for an experience and in many ways, it’s like a free show – they get to watch old-world craftsmen work on stage, it’s all very hands-on.” The best part? Guests can purchase items made in the shop, and can even make custom requests in advance (prices vary depending on the intricacy of the design and the number of hours it takes to create).
Arribas Brothers has been at Disney Springs since the beginning, but it’s easy to find something new to love every time you visit. If you happen to wander in on a day when Jerry is working, there’s a good chance he’ll be among your favorite new finds!
Arribas Brothers is open daily at Disney Springs Marketplace starting at 10 a.m.; the shop closes at 11:00 p.m. Sunday – Thursday and at 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.