Stepping inside AO Glass in Burlington, you’ll instantly sense the warmth and glow of custom-made glass making.

In a stylish industrial workshop equipped with furnaces reaching temperatures exceeding 2,000 degrees, glass blowers create pieces beneath a lofty vaulted ceiling. Using blowpipes and various tools, they skillfully shape molten glass into numerous items, ranging from beer glasses and holiday ornaments to colorful bowls and vases.

Rich Arentzen and Tove Ohlander met at the Orrefors School of Glass in Sweden in 1994 and founded AO Glass in 2007 after moving to Burlington. AO Glass is in a 10,000-square-foot space on Pine Street, the creative heart of Burlington.

AO Glass soon found success after The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History ordered hundreds of snowmen for its gift shop in Washington, D.C. Senator Bernie Sanders’ office had facilitated the order as part of his initiative to promote American-made products.

Arentzen and Ohlander also began working with creating small glass gifts for local and national organizations, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Polar Bears International. About a decade ago, the couple started focusing their business on commercial lighting, becoming a prominent lighting manufacturer in the high-end boutique lighting industry.

Now, AO Glass is evolving into a local destination and experience center.


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Hands-on Classes, Activities and Private Events

AO Glass is part of retail, education, and event space. It’s also where you can take advantage of hands-on experiences. AO Glass offers new glass-blowing classes, hands-on glass-blowing demonstrations, private catered events, and corporate team-building activities.

Also, special public events, such as a Valentine’s Date Night, feature drinks, food and the opportunity to create a handmade, glass-blown item.

In the glass-blowing classes that AO Glass began offering last summer, expert glassmakers safely guide you through creating your one-of-a-kind glass, vase, or bowl. For private events, AO Glass is partnering with Adventure Dinner for custom culinary experiences at the workshop.

“We want people to feel a connection to the material. Just a little bit of an ‘aha’ moment that this is 2,100-degree molten material that glassblowers work with,” Ohlander says. “All the team-building activities we’ve had are from corporate companies, and it’s just so interesting to have them participate in something that someone can actually do as a profession.”


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Creating a Memorable Experience

Growing up in Växjö, Sweden, Ohlander attended events where people would gather at glass factories to watch glass blowing while enjoying music and food. That experience in her youth is part of her vision for AO Glass moving forward.

“With glass blowing, people come in and watch because it’s mesmerizing. There’s a performative aspect where you can have an audience, and it’s an attractive process,” she says. “We’ve always wanted more visitors to see that process because glassblowers are making things here every day.”

Arentzen grew up in Guilford, Connecticut, and lived in Burlington while working as an apprentice at a local glass glowing studio before attending school in Sweden in the 1990s. He says AO Glass offers an attractive, interesting and welcoming space for people to visit. “What I like best about what we do is the human connection,” Arentzen says. “The fact that everyone can walk in and be amazed by the heat and all that goes on here, it’s a positivity builder that radiates outward.”



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AO Glass is located at 416 Pine Street in Burlington.

Operating Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10am-4pm, and Saturday 10am-3pm.

For more information, visit