January 26, 2021
People that are watching the glassblowing ask me this all the time - "What got you into this?". Or "What made you decide to do this?"
Well, there was no grand plan. Vicki and I moved out here in 2001 from Wisconsin, once our youngest graduated from high school. We've been fortunate all along that we're both in health care (pharmacist and registered nurse), so finding a job has never been too difficult. There had been a pharmacist job advertised for at the hospital in Newport, OR, so I pursued it.
For some time after we moved here, we made all the usual tourist stops. Of course, a couple of them were at glassblowing shops. It was fascinating to watch, and always made me wonder whether I'd be able to do it. In 2003, Pyromania Glass in South Beach, OR, started offering lessons - not the one-time "blow your own" thing, but hourly, one-on-one lessons. We both jumped at the opportunity, though Vicki soon concluded that it was too much heat for her. Andrea Schmitz was our instructor, and I even got to work a couple time with her father, Dennis, the founder of the business. They wanted to only do lessons, though, and not rent out time on their equipment. It was time to move on to the next stage if I wanted to keep doing it.
They referred me to Larry Sommer, a renowned glass fuser that decided to also set up a small glassblowing studio in his shop in Toledo, OR. The equipment had been mothballed, but we got it up and running again, and I was able to get some solid time in with the glass. This was my first opportunity to work solo, and it provided me with the experience I needed to decide whether to get more serious about it. I'll be forever indebted to Larry for the opportunity.
It was while I was working at Larry's that I started thinking seriously about having my own shop. Doing something creative after decades of being in a highly structured, rule/law-oriented profession was a revelation. I think I experienced what I've seen referred to as "unbottling" (at least in Stephen King's "Duma Key"), and I had a strong compulsion to keep blowing glass. I wasn't getting as much time in at Larry's as I would've liked, so Vicki and I agreed to start looking for a place to move to that could accommodate that.
We found our current property in Seal Rock in 2005. It had a nice shed on it that would work for a studio, though not much else. I've always given Vicki a lot of credit with putting up with that. But, we got the studio running by the end of that year, and I was able to go all out.
Note: The photo above is my first studio space. Nothing is connected yet, but just seeing this brings back the excitement of the time.
January 26, 2021
I want to include some details on the site about how this all came to be, and it started seeming like creating a blog would be the best way to accomplish that. I've never tried one before, so please be kind.
I plan on using the first few posts to explain how we got here. Once I'm caught up with that, I'll try to start sharing some of the other things that go on - new color patterns, equipment failures, new staff - things like that.
I'm looking forward to giving this a try.
Note: The photo I attached to this was taken during one of the field trips that various schools have included us in. It's always a good time - there's nothing better than a bunch of kids getting excited about something I like to do!
January 26, 2021
This has been our home since late 2007. We started with only Bob’s blown glass, but soon had other artists stopping in to see if we’d handle their work. Before long, we had representation from every kind of glass art made, as well as from other mediums like wood, metal, fabrics, and paintings. We estimate that about 80% of our items are created by artists right here in Lincoln County artists, and very nearly 100% created by artists from the rest of Oregon.
The business itself started in 2005. We found a property that fit our criteria for starting a glassblowing shop – something with an existing building to convert to a studio, and a location with potentially good visibility. It was right on Hwy 101, but the entire front end was wooded. An old shed was back in a little ways, and a little drive through the woods would rely on visitors having a bit of an adventurous spirit, but it seemed like it had potential. The old shed took a little elbow grease to get into shape, and we were able to get the studio going by late 2005. We included a small gallery of Bob’s work in the shed, and it was successful enough to give us some hope.
Note: This photo is from when we first opened. There have certainly been changes since then, but it's still very recognizable.