Island Glass a World Apart
It was a rainy Father’s Day weekend when my husband, son, and I visited Island Glass Studio in Whidbey Island. The owner of the Glass House Studio is Robert Adamson (who has been designing and making hand-blown, sculpted and cast iron pieces for forty years) and his wife, Janis Swalwel. (Business of glass design for twenty plus years)
A glass garden
As I looked around at the grounds with all the glass sculpture, I felt a little like
I was in a fairytale glass garden. Rob’s wife is responsible for the beautiful plants and flowers, and when you add the rainbow colors of the glass sculptures throughout the grounds, it is truly a sight to behold.
When I entered the glass cottage, the Art Glass florals seemed to literally bloom on the display tables, and the portable sculptures of hand-blow glass caught the ‘oyster light’ of the over-cast day in an array of colors that almost took my breath away.
As I was oohing and aahing over each piece of glass that looked like it must have come straight from northern Italy, (I can see why Whidbey Island is called the “Isle of Murando”) Robert explained that his technique and materials closely follow the forms and methods used for centuries in glassmaking.
The equipment benefits from today’s engineered designs, he said, but the basic principles, “have not changed.”
Mount St. Helens and the Glass Eye Studio
Robert Adamson founded the nationally known art glass company, the Glass Eye studio in 1978.
After Mount St. Helens blew her stack, glass made from mount St. Helen ash was hotter than the volcano, and Robert’s Glass Eye business flourished.
Glass for the American craft market
It wasn’t until 1997 that he finished construction of the glass facility and it is here in Whidbey Island where he produces a line of art glass for the American craft market.
After looking at the glass in the cottage, Robert took us over to the ‘light house’ where he showed us the latest lighting fixtures that combines crackled glass with hand-forged metal. Many business and private homes order these hand-blow lighting fixtures, and looking at the display, it was not hard to see why they are in such demand.
Before we left, I said I had to buy some glass to take home and we returned to the cottage.
My husband purchased a red display bowl and I selected a glass apple and pear to put in it. Prices at Island Glass range from $20.00 to hundreds of dollars, but whatever you choose to buy, you will not ‘get it home’ and wonder what”you were thinking!” when you bought the piece. Each piece of glass is a treasure to own.
When we walked back to the car with our purchases, I turned back for one last look at the fairytale cottage. The sky had not cleared, but it made little difference for the emerald green of the garden plants, accentuated by the yellow, red, white, and blue garden glass made the sunshine almost redundant.