Kevin Chong of Willow Glen is the master glassblower, firing up his furnace, gathering molten glass on the end of a blowpipe, blowing and creating art glass almost magically. Although he has been blowing glass for only a decade, Chong's talent is recognized and praised by other Bay Area glass artisans. Tom Stanton, founder of Holy City Art Glass and a man Chong calls the guru of glass, says, "Kevin is one of the better and more unusual glass artists around."
He opened up his own neon studio, across from Henry's Hi-Life and next door to the Downtown Alano Club at 99-B N. Almaden Blvd. "Almost everybody in the Bay Area sees my neon work every day," Chong says. Clients include the HP Pavilion, The Tech Museum, the Sainte Claire Hotel, Microsoft, Subway, Sharper Image and Men's Wearhouse.
In 2003, Chong combined his glassblowing and neon glass businesses under the name Silica Valley Glass Studio. When Chong gives the name of his studio, many people immediately hear Silicon Valley instead of Silica Valley, which makes him smile. "Silica is one of the ingredients of glass," he says.