It's 105 degrees in glass artist John Pomp's cavernous Brooklyn, New York, studio. The heat radiates from two 3,500-degree furnaces and one 1,000-degree oven burning full blast, but the substance Pomp is melting isn't glass—it's cheese.
Although Pomp is busy working on accessories for New York restaurants like Eleven Madison Park and Centro Vinoteca, the 33-year-old artist still finds time every few weeks to make crispy, thin-crusted Caprese pizzas in his glass oven for colleagues and friends. "Glassmaking and cooking go together because in both there is so much open flame around," he says.
When Pomp finishes making pizzas at his parties, he and his studio partners continue to blow glass into the night, giving friends the chance to watch the artists use metal rods to scoop up molten glass and then roll and blow the honeylike substance. For Pomp, "cooking glass," as he likes to call glassblowing, is similar to cooking food: "There are no recipes in making glass—you're interacting with a live material that keeps changing, and you have to react immediately. My approach to food is the same: I don't need recipes or measuring cups—I know a lot about heat transfer, and I'm really good with proportions and timing."