The all-new sculpted glass dog is close to the heart of many of us here at Simon Pearce. Dogs are intelligent, loyal companions that are with us through thick and thin. They are treated like a member of the family, and a few of us bring our dogs to work, which adds another dimension to the workplace. To commemorate this special relationship, we set out to create the ideal interpretation of the quintessential dog that relates to our methods of making glass. The design started with some sketches, and we had a Labrador Retriever pose as our model. After several drawings and iterations in clay, we landed on the character we wanted to capture in glass. The final design stays true to our ethos of beauty and simplicity.
With 2018 being the ‘year of the dog’ (according to the Chinese Zodiac); we couldn’t think of a better time to start crafting these in our hot-shop, and make them available for the glass enthusiast. Our brilliant glass shows off the exquisite surfaces and contours of the shape.
The iconic glass dog is a joy to have and to hold.
Practice makes perfect imperfection on the path to mastery. A side benefit of educating a new generation of artisans? Seeing and feeling the vibrant authenticity of their initial creations. Each unique apprentice piece illustrates the meaning of “handmade” with a wabi-sabi aesthetic that brings the energy and passion to your table.
Simon Pearce glass blowers train for years, much of the time, working in tandem with another glass blower to perfect their craft. Along the way, however, each glassblower spends time alone, creating what we call “Apprentice Glass”. An apprentice glass (or bowl, or vase) is created from a singular gather of molten glass from the furnace, and is shaped in its entirety from this one gather. This allows the glassblower to develop their proficiencies in elements of glassblowing such as gathering, blowing, transferring from one pipe to another (with the aid of a stand), shaping and opening the glass. Working swiftly, each piece takes 8-9 min, and in a day, the glassblower will complete up to fifty glasses.
Another element of the apprentice glassware is its simplicity of design. Only general specifications are followed, and without a partner, the glassblower can not add design details such as a foot, rolled rim, or texture, to the glass. As you can see from the above photos, blowing a simple drinking vessel out of glass, is at once, a race against time and an exercise in precision. The end result is perfect imperfection. Each vessel has its own character, and yet they hang nicely together as a group. The Apprentice Collection has become one of our customers’ favorites, as they choose the shapes they like from a group on display.
Every holiday season, the design team presents new ways to entertain family and friends, around the table. Set a striking tablescape using our glass evergreen trees, down the center of the table with an expression of lightness.
Our intention is the make the highest quality artifacts of glass and pottery, to be enjoyed for years to come. We have a vibrant team of highly skilled craftsmen whose talents bring life to our fine products everyday.
At the heart of our mission, we want to inspire and delight everyone, with new additions to our holiday decor; this year we have several new ornaments to add to any collection.
Upon, studying the water flowing over the waterfall at the mill and the ice that forms in the winter, we came up with these natural textures to capture in glass.
The glass blowers use fine strands of molten glass that are quickly wrapped around these cylindrical shapes to create a watery and icy effect.
As a beautiful series of winter hurricanes, the candlelight glows through the finer wrap texture in a way that is visually stunning.
We started with initial drawings but also worked closely with the glassblowing team, to arrive at the optimal amount of textural coverage. Each vessel turns out unique, and we embrace the irregularity that comes from the process of making them.
Perfectly, imperfect is a key characteristic of Echo Lake, and a hallmark of our ethos.
They remain a true reflection of the design influences that surround us in our beautiful Vermont setting. Our crystal clear glass formula along with the hand-tooled forms capture the magic of a tree as if it were made of ice.
They create conversation and certainly stimulates the imagination. No two are alike. As with trees in the natural world, the subtle differences give them a unique personality.
It’s desirable to have them in groups which might inspire years of collecting and growing a forest. We refer to them as “investment” pieces that can be used and reused every year as seasonal decor items, as well as the fact that they can stay out all year long.
A new textural addition to any forest is the Snowy Branch Evergreens which are lightly dusted in white powder on the branches. This gives the impression of freshly fallen snow on our iconic trees. Enjoy the season!
The Bristol Collection originates from studying the “Golden Section” Proportions found in nature. Yet, no matter how refined the design or how forward-looking the concept, hand-crafting is required.
For the Bristol Collection, James Murray, Simon Pearce’s VP of Design, began with ideas for a flute and a tumbler that he carefully rendered on paper. After making numerous revisions, the process of manufacturing began, which required blowing, shaping, sculpting, cutting, trimming, molding, and cooling in our workshops, of Vermont and Maryland.
“For the Bristol Collection, we use old-world techniques and real, basic tools to make something that is decidedly modern,” says James.
Bristol Flute & Tumbler Sketch
Bristol Caviar Sketch
Visitors to our workshops can witness the process.
In a Parisian pottery factory of the late 1800’s, two chemists made a mistake, causing colorful glaze crystals to form on the outside of their pots. The results were, at once, striking and hard to control. The potters at Simon Pearce have revisited this technique to create one of a kind, decorative vessels.
The time intensive and expensive process fell out of favor with the large pottery factories, but in the 1920’s, a resurgence in the production of this glaze technique occurred (due to independent potters setting up their own studios and producing pottery separate from large production).
Matt McFarland developed the glazes and the technique to allow the glazes to run down the entire ceramic form. The crystals are formed by a combination of added ingredients (mostly zinc oxide and silica) to float around on the glaze and cool slowly. The size of the crystals is determined by how long the minerals remain on the molasses-like glaze before it drops in temperature.
Only some shapes will adequately “hold” this type of glaze. The shape needs to orient itself in a way so, when the glaze is applied to the top rim of the vessel, the crystals form at the desired place on the piece. For this reason, many of the vessels are bulbous (that Mike Trempe throws), with a very narrow neck. Historically, this is known to create the most dramatic and aesthetically pleasing results.
Matt McFarland was instrumental in the first full line of crystalline products being launched at Simon Pearce, in the Spring of 2014. The introduction of these pieces brought a sparkle of color into the company owned stores. Today, the Simon Pearce crystalline assortment includes over a dozen different shapes in five different colors.
The story of crystalline is the story of how research into the history of the medium can inspire masters to create a new standard of excellence.
Functionality and beauty have always been the core criteria of Simon’s design philosophy. The Belmont collection has stood the test of time, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. It is a unique style of dinnerware that bridges the gap between a classic and causal aesthetic, that remains true to our brand heritage.
It’s origins are from a passion for hand thrown pottery. A blend of earthy materials and old world process that are also known for their durability. The central swirl motif on the plates accentuates the centrifugal movement of how the pieces are thrown on the wheel.
Crackle glazes are enjoying a resurgence of interest, particularly with younger customers that appreciate handcrafted excellence, and want to personalize their tabletop with a mix and match of pottery. Belmont comes in two crackle finishes, ivory and celadon, that work great together when layered in a place-setting.
Commemorating the 25th anniversary, we launched a new Centerpiece Bowl magnificently scaled as both a functional and decorative piece. The voluminous bowls express the simple richness of the Belmont pottery.
Growing up in a family of artisans, where aesthetics and attention to detail is a part of everyday life, each piece carries a story from the design origin to the act of handcrafting these artifacts. We’ve built success in designing and producing exceptional handmade glass and pottery for over 40 years.
Design explores directions that stretch out the imagination and yet remain true to the brand heritage. We push boundaries to express new forms and textures in our materials; the artisans have a muscle memory for making our products that typically bring new ideas back through a Simon Pearce lens. We search for character, and then blend that with function, to turn out something that is beautiful.
We strive to inspire with handcrafted excellence. This is what we do every day…