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|Jennifer Sears Glass Art Studio|
LINCOLN CITY -- Can’t find a glass float on the beach in this city’s “finder’s keepers” promotion?
Buy one at most art galleries along the Oregon Coast.
Or blow your own.
The Jennifer Sears Glass Art Studio on Hwy. 101 keeps a furnace, two kilns, and two “glory holes” (reheating ovens) going five days a week for professional glass artists and novices who want to shape molten glass into their own artwork.
“Floats are the most popular,” says glass artist Daniel Millen, 43, manager of the busy studio.
So many people want to try glass-blowing on this particular week day, that it’s standing-room-only at the studio.
Daniel Millen, partner at the Sears Glass Art Studio, explains the process of creating a glass float like the one at left.
All the chairs are filled in the waiting area/viewing gallery where many just sit and watch glass melt at temperatures of 2000F.
And onlookers are gathering at the big door that Millen has opened. It’s as large as a garage door, so lures gawkers from Hwy. 101.
The gallery, celebrating its sixth year, encourages newbies to try making paperweights, hearts, starfish, and fluted bowls. These glassworks are substantial too: Paperweights can weigh 5 pounds.
“Everything we do is geared toward the beginner,” Millen says, while artist Andrew Kogel wows the crowd with a molten glob of orange that a visitor is fashioning into a bowl.
Up to 40 people a day will work on DIY projects. (It costs $65 to make a simple glass float, in the consumer’s choice of colors.)
Glass artist Andrew Kogel works with molten glass to create a bowl at The Jennifer Sears Glass Art Studio, Lincoln City.
Visitors come from cities all along the Pacific coast, from Canada to Mexico, but also from Japan, Brazil, Australia, Sweden, England and Italy -- home of glass blowing, Millen says.
“We’re in a glass renaissance,” he declares. “Since the ‘90s, we’ve been in our biggest boom.”
There’s an international flavor to the studio too: base glass comes from Seattle; colored glass is imported from Germany and New Zealand; tools were bought in Italy.
Millen has been a professional glass artist for more than a decade, yet insists, “you don’t say you blow glass until you’ve been doing it for 20 years.
“There’s always something new to learn,” he adds. “And there’s so much to learn, you’re never done learning.
“It’s an exciting art form,” Millen says. “Every day is like Christmas here, when you open up the kiln.”
It takes about an hour to create one piece, but it must be cooled overnight. Glassworks are available for pick up or shipping the day after actual glass blowing.
Incredible glass sculptures and other intricate pieces created by artists at the Sears studio are exhibited and sold across the street at Volta Gallery, www.voltaglass.com.
Photo credit: Hadi Dadashian