So if there was a natural relationship between blown glass and the art you hang on walls, the Gilveys took advantage of another natural relationship to start their new experiment: the work of Emily Gilvey's photographer brother, David Kimelman.
"Natural Order," his photo exhibit, opened in the studio on First Friday this month and will continue through Aug. 26.
The studio describes it as exploring "the complex, tenuous and often contradictory relationships we have with our natural world . . . landscape and action shots that together express our fear of elemental chaos, our alienation from nature and our attempt to put ourselves above the natural order."
Brought down to Earth - or, more accurately, put up on the walls - this translates into an intriguing variety of subjects: Lush National Geographic-type landscapes juxtaposed with edgier shots, such as two monkeys copulating in a Buddhist temple in Kathmandu, Nepal; chicken heads floating in a bucket of blood and hibiscus flowers in a temple in Nepal; a lumpy tourist couple walking down a crowded beach in India, the man wearing a G-string bathing suit that belonged on a GQ beefcake model.
"They look ridiculous, but they're having this nice little moment," said Kimelman, a Philadelphia native who now lives in Brooklyn.
There are personal moments, too - Kimelman's brother helping their grandfather move into his new condo. And conventional ones - an ecstatic crowd watching the eruption of Old Faithful.
"It's fear and fascination," said Kimelman, a slender, blond man of 31. "People want nature to be what they want it to be. They want it to be pretty, they want it to be tame. People want to have nice villa houses and live comfortably and not be affected by the bad part of nature."
This idea is most graphically displayed in a shot from the urban Mideast, what Kimelman calls "different layers of transforming the landscape": vegetation, homes, a construction barrier and, in the distance against a searing background of white-blue, "the crazy Dubai skyline."
Sean Gilvey is a third-generation glassblower. The family's main studio and sales outlet is in Beacon, N.Y.
Hudson Beach Glass, a small space on Strawberry Street, is the only place in Center City with a zoning variance that allows a glassblowing studio. Previously, the building was owned by a glassblowing school called Hot Soup.
At the opening of Kimelman's show, it was obvious that the glassware-photography match had its strengths. The textures played off each other, and given that people usually want to lift and touch the glassware, it was good to find a use for those spaces unreachable by anyone not on the 76ers. Plus, most of the shelving itself was natural wood.
"There's something about melting glass and making it into a cup that's taking control of nature," said Emily Gilvey. "A lot of our work has expressions of nature in it."
Hudson Beach Glass is open noon-7 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturdays, and noon-5 p.m. Sundays at 26 S. Strawberry St. Information: 267-319-1887, hudsonbeachglasspa.com.