Alder House Glassblowing


A mizzly afternoon seemed like a fine time to watch an artisan ply his craft so I drove over to The Alder House. The studio sits in a wild meadow on the southern edge of the Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It seems an inspiring place to create art as there is beauty both inside and outside the building.

The day of my visit Treasure was the glassblower on duty, capably assisted by his wife Michelle. Both were welcoming and patient with my barrage of questions. (Hey, in my defense, I’m a very curious person.) I was so captivated by the transformation of molten blobs of glass that I stayed to watch multiple pieces.

Glassblowing has been a big part of Lincoln City for decades (The Alder House opened in 1971). I imagine in the early years some of the glass art was inspired by the Japanese glass fishing floats that washed ashore. The North Lincoln County Historical Museum has a huge display of glass floats of all sizes that were found on local beaches.

The Japanese glass floats are highly prized by collectors but are rarely found any more since most floats are now made of other materials, like plastic. Some coastal towns have cashed in on the craze by placing locally-made glass floats on their beaches. Lincoln City has elevated the concept with their Finders Keepers campaign; during winter and spring they place around 3,000 colorful orbs on the beaches.

The last drop for the season was Memorial Day weekend, so I’ll have to wait until mid-October for my chance to find one. Perhaps I’ll find one made by Treasure, since he’s one of several local glassblowers that create the orbs for the city. A glass float by Treasure would be something to treasure!

Categories: Observations

2 comments

  1. How absolutely cool! How hot does the furnace have to be? Bet it takes a lot of breath? What a neat thing to experience! Are you going to try this? Love love love that glass, hope you find an orb in the fall!

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  2. Excellent question! The glass furnace runs between 1000 and 1400 degrees F. All finished pieces are placed in an annealing oven which slowly lowers in temperature from 950F to room temperature overnight (if the pieces cool too quickly they crack). It is a very cool form of art!

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