The Glass Forge of Grants Pass creates a wide range of glass art ranging from the sublime to the wacky. I loved the tree like pattern in the left bowl.
How can you not fall for a blue fish with red lips. While the artists of the Glass Forge produce much traditional glass art, they also have a wonderful sense of humor.
It’s Friday, so this is my day to produce a photographic essay for my blog. My choice for today is the Glass Forge in Grants Pass, Oregon. Peggy and I visited the studio on one of our Wednesday Date Days in November. (We’ve been having Wednesday Date Days for 27 years!) When we arrived the staff was working on glass art for the Lodge at Yosemite.
One of the neat things about the Glass Forge is that you are encouraged to watch the artists at work. In this photo, Lee Wassink, founder of the Glass Forge, demonstrates the creation of a vase.
Groups and individuals have an opportunity to attend a workshop and create simple glass work of their own, such as these Christmas ornaments.
The studio provides an opportunity to peruse the wide variety of glass art available, such as this vase. As I posted this photo I notice a slight reflection of myself, a selfie.
I always like looking down into glass art for a different perspective, as in this vase…
And this bowl. I am amazed at the patterns, variety and beauty created.
I really like weird and wacky. These mugs certainly qualify!
And here’s another fish.
This collection of bowls demonstrated the variety available.
One of several tall, graceful vases.
Someday, I am going to return to the Glass Forge to find out how these paper weights are created.
We were able to watch a vase being made. The furnaces used to melt the glass are over 2000 degrees F (1100 degrees C).
A bubble is blown into the glass. Layers are added by returning to the furnace for more glass. The larger the piece, the more returns.
These bins hold colored glass that will be added to the various pieces.
The following series of photos follow the artists as they work together to finish a vase:
Check out the gorgeous color!
A bottom is added.
The finished product.
If you are driving up or down Interstate 5 in Southern Oregon or live in the area, I highly recommend stopping off at the Glass Forge in Grants Pass.
I’ll conclude my Friday photographic essay today with this marvelous glass genie.
MONDAY’S BLOG: We will return to the Oregon Coast and visit the scenic Sunset Bay.
WEDNESDAY’S BLOG: Part 2 of my Sierra Trek series. I have to persuade a reluctant Board of Directors (“You want to do what?”), decide on a name, hire Steve, and determine our route.
FRIDAY’s BLOG: California mountain wildflowers.
48 thoughts on “The Glass Forge of Grants Pass… From the Sublime to the Wacky”
I am cautious about letting Alie know about glass blowers. We both love to visit them — and she loves to buy hand-crafted glass.
Laughing here, Ray. Our wallets came out as well. I am pretty sure that Peggy and I will be visiting the Glass Forge again and ‘contributing’ more. 🙂 –Curt
Suan: I love the glass blowing factories. Always fascinating how these colored pieces that joined up so artistically. Its one thing to draw it, but quite another to make it!
I certainly plan to return to the studio and learn more about how they create the various pieces, Suan. I’ve watched potters work a fair amount but haven’t watched many glass blowers. –Curt
The “tall graceful vase” was very pretty. Tim and I have a large hand blown vase we picked up along the Oregon coast on our honeymoon almost 25 years ago. It remains one of my favorite pieces. Thanks for sharing your date day with us!
I can see where your vase would be a favorite, Joanne, as both a reminder of your honeymoon and a beautiful trip up/down the coast. 25 years… congratulations! Peggy and I are coming up on 25 this year as well! 🙂 –Curt
Amazing art form. I remember being told that glass blowing can be hazardous for health. The furnaces in the past were gas fed and I used to walk past a gas blower on the way to school as child. I remember that the glass blower looked very pale and in my schoolboy’s mind felt that the paleness came from noxious fumes.
It is probably totally wrong and glass blowers today would be well protected from any harm. Beautiful objects and photos, Curt.
Lots of hazards, I imagine Gerard. Some of the things that go into making beautiful glassware can be quite poisonous. Then there are rather painful burns I’m sure. Finally, if that isn’t enough, there is always broken glass! But, like anything else, proper care can reduce the danger substantially.
Thanks, both Peggy and I were impressed with the beauty and uniqueness of the work. I shot photos until my battery went dead. 🙂 –Curt
The techniques are so interesting. I like that they encourage visitors to watch the process. I must say, some of these pieces recall the decorative glass of the 1950s and 1950s. I still remember a rather remarkable, bright orange floor vase that my mother had. And of course, there were those heavy, heavy ashtrays. My favorites are the paper weights. I just don’t understand how they can do that!
Me either on the paper weights, Linda, but I am going to go back and see how they do it! I don’t think much fancy glass work made it into our house in the 50’s but I do remember adding to the family’s glassware each year at the County Fair. I’d practice before the fair so I could make dimes land just right in the glass. Did you every toss dimes to win glassware? They also had glass bowls that you tossed dimes in to win bears. It was a mark of pride for me when they wouldn’t let me play any more because I won so many bears. I must have been all of ten years old. 🙂 –Curt
Of course I tossed dimes into glassware — except I think it was nickles. But yes, we did take home some bowls, candy dishes, and such. My mother wanted nothing to do with the carnivals, but she liked the old-fashioned carnival glass, and we did our best to accomodate her.
I remember a green glass bead necklace, and a bisque doll about four inches tall that my dad won for me. Oh, I wish I had those today!
We were turned loose at the county fair and carnival, Linda, and free to get into all kind of mischief. 🙂 I loved them. And I still do. But now I prefer the goats and pigs to cotton candy and the carnival. –Curt
Remember: blow, don’t suck!
There surely are some weird and wacky pieces, along with the beautiful.
Sounds like very good advice, Yvonne! 🙂 I’ll bet it is the first thing a glass blower is taught, that and don’t touch you art piece when it is red hot! –Curt
“From the Sublime to the Wacky” – yep, sounds like Oregon. My sister and bro in law have a glass studio in Colorado, it’s always interesting to see how it’s done.
Wow, you have it in the family Dave. Must be fun. “Sublime and wacky…” Must confess, I like both ends of the spectrum. 🙂 –Curt
beautiful work of art… I love the weird and whacky mugs… Super Awesome.
My favorites too! I have a real love of weird and wacky! –Curt
Fascinating glimpse into the craft … something magical about glass anyway, formed from sand!
Yes there is Dave. It was fun to watch the magic happen. –Curt
Reminded me of Murano, near Venice!
We didn’t make it to Murano when we were in Venice, Andrew, but just walking down any street was an opportunity to ad mire glass art. The owner of the Glass Forge, Lee Wassink, studied the Venetian style at the Corning Studio in New York. –Curt
I like those weird, wacky mugs, too. Every time I watch a glass-blowing demonstration, I am amazed at how quickly they work. But then, I suppose they have to. It’s an admirable art form to master.
That’s a good observation, Juliann. There isn’t a lot of time to futz around. I suspect the real fun starts once you get the basics down. –Curt
Fabulous collection of glass blown objects. I love the photo of the bins that hold the colored glass pieces. I like the colored bowls photo too. It is such fun to see a glass blowing demonstration ~ like magic. Great post thanks for sharing.
Thanks, Peta. We were really impressed with the folks there and it was entertaining and educational to watch them work. We will be going back to peruse their art and to watch them at work again. –Curt
Whoa, major Chilhuly flashback, dude. That eyeball mug haunts my dreams.
My thoughts immediately ran to Chihuly as well. And I wanted the eyeball mug. Might be scary in the middle of the night however.
I’m thinkin’ more first thing in the morning, having your own coffee mug staring you down insolently, mocking you, judging you, taunting, “Why aren’t you rich and famous, yet? I thought you had goals? And what about all that bacon in the fridge?”
I lost my train of thought.
I’m thinking a glass mug would know better than to taunt me too much. But, if I had a glass mug that talked, there is a possibility that I would be rich and famous. Now, about that bacon… 🙂 –Curt
(chomp, chomp) What bacon?
The short lived bacon, Oink Oink.
This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed at home.
And this little piggy cried waa, waa, waa all the way home to where the big bad wolf was waiting for him/her, if remember the tale correctly.
I think you’re mixing piggies.
I know, but its fun.
Nice to see something like this in Grants Pass. Thee was nothing like it when I lived there, and I’m sure when my father grew up there it was unheard of. I agree with Shoreacres that it is reminiscent of 1950’s style. There is a glass museum in Tacoma which would knock your socks off. Good to see G.P. encouraging people to watch the process. Seattle has a big interest in glass blowing, and of course lots of wonderful artists. G.P. is a good start. I hope they do well.
We had been in and out of Grant’s Pass many times and had not been aware of the Glass Forge, Kayti. We were pleased to find it. We’ve seen several Chihuly exhibitions and become quite fond of glass art. We’ve yet to see his work in Tacoma and Seattle, however. We keep promising ourselves a trip to Washington solely for that purpose. –Curt
The artistic skill in glass blowing is astonishing – a delight to watch! Wonderful photos and the colours of their creations are so vibrant. Great Friday essay, Curt and thank you for this colourful display – oh, I would have liked to buy them all!
We were certainly tempted to buy more, Annika. 🙂 But there is always a next time. Grants Pass is close. And thanks. I am enjoying my new approach to posting. –Curt
We’re fans of blown glass even though there’s only room for one special piece in our condo — a huge bowl we bought in Arizona. But we love it. And I love the pieces you’ve included here. Better yet, I’d like to see them in person as well as the glass blower. Thanks for including the genie — my favorite!
I am not surprised about you appreciation of the glass blowing art, Rusha, having wandered into many craft shops with you in your blogs. 🙂 –Curt
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Oh this is such an interesting post. And visually beautiful. Glass artistry at it’s best. Grants Pass is one of my favorite places. Thank you.
Peggy and I were just in Seattle on a post-trek trip through Washington, JoHanna, and we went to the Chihuly exhibit at the Space needle. Incredible! It will definitely be a blog. –Curt
Looking forward to reading about this Curt. All my best to you and Peggy.
Thanks, JoHanna. Fun trip. Great way to wind down. –Curt