Upon entering Jill Davis’ open, bright studio space two things were apparent. Firstly, I didn’t expect such petite glass beauties to come from such a big personality, and secondly, I wore way too many layers of clothing. We seemed to have a longer, wetter, grayer winter in New England than I remember from past years so visiting a warm and inviting space was ever the more sweeter at the tail end of a dreary season. We visited Jill and her team at Henrietta Glass in their Pawtucket, RI, studio to see where some of UncommonGoods’ most beautiful (and best-selling) glass items, like Jill’s Wishing Balls and Birthstone Wine Bottle Stoppers, are created. Read on to take a look at her process, learn how she collaborates–and celebrates–with her team, and find out where she finds inspiration in and beyond the walls of her creative space.
If you had no sunlight, dirt, water, or seeds, could you create a bed of flowers? Scott Johnson can. He’s the master behind our popular Glass Flower Garden Centerpiece, a stunning sculpture with multi-colored flowers “sprouting” out from the base. Scott has always loved sculpting. It stems back to his childhood, watching his father mold clay in their home. Naturally, Scott started crafting with clay, but the more he experimented with new materials, the more inspired he became. That’s when he discovered glass. He was mesmerized by the way a solid could turn to a liquid and finally into a work of art. Once he found his medium (or his medium found him), he began creating one-of-a-kind pieces to decorate your home.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Scott about his process, inspiration, and “bendy,” a trusty makeshift tool he can’t live without. Read on for more.
We sell loads of glass here at UncommonGoods, and I often joke with my friends that it’s not quite my thing—that I appreciate the artistry of it, but it just doesn’t speak to me the way, say, a piece of jewelry does. (As a former art history student who doesn’t much dig Impressionism, I’m pretty practiced at delivering that type of spiel.) To be totally honest, though, I’ve come to see glass in a new light since speaking with so many of our wonderful makers. They give their work a personality and meaning that I, a relative philistine, at least as far as glass goes, hadn’t really considered before. And Richard Glass is no exception… though he is, we concede, exceptionally well-named.
We were first introduced to Richard’s handiwork—his Saturn Glass Sculptural Bowl in particular—in a meeting room in our office in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and we soon reached out to him in search of answers to questions like: “Why glass?” and “What inspires you?” What we received were some seriously delightful insights into his past and passions, complete with anecdotes that made us chuckle and wise words that made us go hmm at our desks. Read on for our Q&A with Richard, complete with a sneak peek into his dazzling workspace in Devon, England.
During the first week of October, I traveled to Toronto to attend the annual B Corporation Champions Retreat. (And to celebrate our 10th anniversary as a founding B Corp!) Less than a week before I was set to leave for my first-ever trip to the Great White North, I learned that Stephen Kitras, a long-time member of our maker family, owns and operates the largest hot glass blowing studio in Canada. I immediately contacted the Kitras Art Glass team with fingers crossed, hoping to squeeze in a last minute visit while on their side of the continent. A few days later, I found myself in Fergus, Ontario, thrown into the fire of glassblowing alongside artists who have traveled from all over the world to practice their craft at Stephen’s studio. Continue Reading…
Far, far away from UncommonGoods’ historic headquarters in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, Marylène Chauveau manipulates glass in her home studio in Wotton, Québec. A native of the French-speaking Canadian province, Marylène lives where she works, tracing, cutting, sanding, and assembling striking pieces of finely colored glass into jewelry, mobiles, and suncatchers, all while tending to her two school-aged boys.
When we first saw Marylène’s Night Sky Mobile—a new addition to our assortment—in the flesh, we found ourselves struck by its delicate, masterful construction and by Marylène’s own background as a STEM worker-turned-glass artist. Intrigued, we set out to welcome her as we do all of our most exciting new makers: with her very own spot in our This Just In-spiration series. (As you can see, she accepted the offer. And we’re so glad.)
Read on for a glimpse into Marylène’s studio, complete with the rundown on her morning ritual and a suite of pretty pictures of her fine vitraux. (That’s French for “stained glass,” FYI. And the cat above? That’s un chat.)
Blowing glass is no small feat, but Colorado-based creator Dottie Boscamp makes it look easy. Using traditional glassblowing techniques, Dottie handcrafts elegant, colorful goods with a unique flair, among them her Speckled Glass Olive Oil Dispenser and Rainbow Candy Dish Bowl, both items new to our assortment. Between the need to blow, shape, color, and properly cool each piece, Dottie’s glassworks require true mastery—and yet they appear almost effortlessly delicate.
Here at UncommonGoods, we like to welcome our newest makers with a quick peek into their day-to-day lives and creative histories. Read on to learn a bit more about Dottie, including her exclusive POV on what music’s best to blow glass to.
We’ve tried to be as faithful as we can so far to the original intent of the traditional list, but with the 15th anniversary, it’s proven just a tiny bit tough. Though the type of crystal you’re really supposed to look for this year is crystal glass, otherwise known as lead glass (eek!), we’ve stretched the truth a little and included all kinds of crystals in our 15th anniversary gift guide, from quartz to lab-grown gemstones. Read on for our top crystalline picks, including jewelry, mugs, and soaps, plus one watch for our modern crew.
“Glass is full of magic,” Patrick Frost told me as he and his wife Carrie began the tour of their Mantua, Ohio, home with an introduction to their impressive collection of glass pieces from around the world.
As Patrick carefully handled one of the handmade glass objects, he explained that it was created by a master glassblower he’d trained with years before. The glassblower was very old, but after 60 years practicing his craft, he still loved his art, because he believed in the magic of glass.
Patrick said that he too is enchanted by the way glass moves, interacts with light, and almost mesmerizes. The Frosts continued to tell the stories behind many of the pieces in the collection (which takes up an entire wall and then some in their living room), and it became clear that both Patrick and Carrie are sincerely passionate about every part of the glassmaking process—from the first drops of molten material, through firing and turning and blowing, all the way up to opening the oven and seeing the cooled, finished piece for the first time.