A glassblower practically born into the craft is making and selling his art in Old City. At Hudson Beach Glass on Strawberry Street, Sean and Emily Gilvey offer both practical and purely decorative pieces. He does the creating; she handles the business end of things.

"I grew up in the studio, so I never really thought about anything else," says Sean Gilvey, 31, whose parents helped found Hudson Beach Glass in Beacon, N.Y., in the artisan-rich Hudson Valley northwest of New York.

The Gilveys' shop is minimally decorated - the walls are white and feature an abstract work commissioned for the space from a local artist. But shelving that follows the form of the building is jammed with intriguing pieces and holiday gift possibilities, from vases to elephants to drinking glasses, bowls and soap dishes, as well as jewelry made by other glass artists.

Prices range from $20 to $5,000.

Custom pieces are possible, says Emily Gilvey, 27, an aspiring mystery novelist. They don't do such commissions often, she says, "but if it is something that [a customer wants], Sean is willing to talk to them."

Through Dec. 21, novices (kids included) can give glassblowing a holiday whirl and make their own custom ornaments with Sean's help.

"I walk them through it," he says of the 15-minute experience. "They pick out the color and pattern they want, and they get to actually blow up the ornament through the blowpipe. They get to reheat and inflate the piece."

Cost is $30 each, with the finished ornaments available after a 24-hour cooldown (mailing can be arranged). Sessions will take place every weekend through Dec. 21, or weekdays by appointment.

- James R. Sanders