Backyard Glass

"From Glacier to Glass”

The story of this special glass begins long before me.  Prior to the last Ice Age, this area of the midwest was covered by sandstone mountains.  The glaciers carved their way through around 10,000 years ago, leaving the remnants of these mountains as powdered earth that we call sand.  Sand is silica, which is just another name for quartz.  Pure quartz melts at too high of a temperature to work with, so we add sodium (salts) and calcium (crushed shells) to make a new workable material that we then call Glass.  

When I set out on this journey I didn’t think I would be able to successfully make glass with our local earth, let alone a clear, durable, workable one.  I figured that since they were able to do it in Ancient Rome, that there must be a way for me to do it.  I initially set out to make a primitive glass, much like the glasses of the Ancient times.  Simple, and full of impurities and imperfections.  

What I’ve developed is the exact opposite.  Clear, bright, beautiful, and most importantly, workable.  

There is so much to say about this glass, but here are the most important notes:

Blandford Glass Notes:

The Color

The first thing that struck me with this glass was the color of it.  The color is a rich, coastal, and calming aqua.  It’s glacial.  Cool, and refreshing.  This glass is colored by the naturally occurring iron content.  That iron rusts in the open air and is what gives our beaches the peachy-tan colors that they are.  That dusting of rust (iron oxide) transforms within the chemistry of the molten glass and is the sole cause of the unique turquoise color. 

Looking at this glass is like always having a view of the lake.  The color is perfectly appropriate.

Blandford Glass Notes:

The Color

The first thing that struck me with this glass was the color of it.  The color is a rich, coastal, and calming aqua.  It’s glacial.  Cool, and refreshing.  This glass is colored by the naturally occurring iron content.  That iron rusts in the open air and is what gives our beaches the peachy-tan colors that they are.  That dusting of rust (iron oxide) transforms within the chemistry of the molten glass and is the sole cause of the unique turquoise color. 

Looking at this glass is like always having a view of the lake.  The color is perfectly appropriate.

Eco-Glass

The sand is thoughtfully and ethically sourced.  One can not take sand from the beach, but one can protect private properties that are being swallowed up by the beach.  Through the gallery I met a sweet grandma named Eileen.  She lives near the beach in a small historic cottage.  The winds bring copious amounts of unwanted sand to her neighborhood each year.  In the spring I head over to Eileen’s cottage armed with a shovel, and many, many buckets.  I clean Eileen’s sidewalk for her.  Eileen gets her sidewalk back, and I get the sand that covered it.  On the next visit I bring her glass made from the previous batch of sand.  She is such a wonderfully sweet person, she has become a good friend and a big part of my glass story.  It is a great coincidence that she has one of the oldest properties on the lakeshore, and that we are helping to preserve it by keeping it from being swallowed by the always-moving sands.  

Low Carbon footprint?  Unlike most glass-making, the silica (quartz) used to make my glass was never mined.  There were no large bulldozers clearing land, no conveyor belts, processing, diesel, or shipping involved.  By removing these carbon-emitting steps from the making of the glass, it has the lowest carbon footprint than any glass that I’ve heard of.

In addition to that, all scraps and shards are remelted in the furnace for the next day.  There is zero waste with this glass.

Eco- Glass

The sand is thoughtfully and ethically sourced.  One can not take sand from the beach, but one can protect private properties that are being swallowed up by the beach.  Through the gallery I met a sweet grandma named Eileen.  She lives near the beach in a small historic cottage.  The winds bring copious amounts of unwanted sand to her neighborhood each year.  In the spring I head over to Eileen’s cottage armed with a shovel, and many, many buckets.  I clean Eileen’s sidewalk for her.  Eileen gets her sidewalk back, and I get the sand that covered it.  On the next visit I bring her glass made from the previous batch of sand.  She is such a wonderfully sweet person, she has become a good friend and a big part of my glass story.  It is a great coincidence that she has one of the oldest properties on the lakeshore, and that we are helping to preserve it by keeping it from being swallowed by the always-moving sands.  

Low Carbon footprint?  Unlike most glass-making, the silica(quartz) used to make my glass was never mined.  There were no large bulldozers clearing land, no conveyor belts, processing, diesel, or shipping involved.  By removing these carbon-emitting steps from the making of the glass, it has the lowest carbon footprint than any glass that I’ve heard of.

In addition to that, all scraps and shards are remelted in the furnace for the next day.  There is zero waste with this glass.

Historical

To achieve this special glass, I studied glasses from ancient Roman times. Though the chemistry of my glass is unique, to me this is an Ancient Roman glass reinvisioned in the midwest lands. The history of shapes in the Roman time period are inspiring my shapes to take on what I call a, “Roman-Modern” aesthetic. I enjoy making works that look both ancient as well as made in modernity. In addition to the ancient history, early American glass like Ball Jars also shared this aqua color.

Geologic History is the other history of significance here. This glass is possible only because of the specific geologic history in our midwest region. The gift to me was the glaciers of 10,000 years ago. They perfectly ground up the land making sands that are of premium quality for glass-making. This glass has been millennia in the makings, from Glacier to Glass.

Please contact the gallery to see the works that are currently available to ship.