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.
There are times when simplicity makes a bold statement. We invite you to pare back your table. Let the rich tones of the wood surface create a backdrop for candlelight, glassware and our warm Belmont dinnerware with its interesting crackle glaze (we’ve used ivory, but the Celadon is also a natural for the holidays).
Then, before your friends or family arrive, take some time outdoors. Gather up some natural elements such as evergreens to style your hurricane, or red berries to adorn your napkins, tied with twine. Here we’ve used Hipericum berries, but you could snip winter berries from the woods, or rosehip berries if you live near the coast. Finally, eucalyptus is a foliage abundantly available at this time of year. We tied bits of Silver Dollar Eucalyptus with our red berries, but another favorite of mine is Seeded Eucalyptus.
This simple Vermont style is punctuated with some holiday sparkle from stainless serveware. Fill a Georg Jensen pitcher with water, or serve salad from one of our hammered bowls for a natural, textured look.
Special enough to celebrate, but simple enough to leave the focus on those with whom you gather. Christmas, Vermont style.
Our design intention is to blend functional geometric pieces with art-glass techniques to create a diverse collection. The character of the pendants changes a great deal with the choice of light-bulb – they can appear moody, elegant, or bright, depending on what the customer desires.
Pendants work in a variety of interior settings and also encourage the customer to be creative, such as in building groupings or clusters of them. The modularity of the simple designs allows for repetitive compositions.
Simon Pearce introduced pendants to the market as another avenue for customers to experience our glass, and by combining them with our lamps, we consider ourselves a destination for lighting and a resource for interior designers, architects, and the discerning homeowner who may be building or remodeling.
Looking at the lighting assortment, the Warren lamps add a simple, modern, voluminous form to the overall line. The Warren silhouette is now available in both glass and ceramic.
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.
The Simon Pearce PURE Collection evolved from our artistic objects that are produced against the chance of failure, where the risk in making unique vessels becomes an expression of virtuosity, something alive and happening in the moment of creation.
The contemporary design and fine craftsmanship inherent in PURE forms are appreciated by discerning connoisseurs and customers looking for one-of-a-kind gifts.
PURE is the vehicle for ongoing experimentation and the way in which the artisan can push the materials to express new forms and sublime textures. The same artisans who make our core glass and pottery products also make PURE vessels, which underscores the talent within our teams for stretching beyond our current production capabilities and discovering new ideas that come out of the process.
Each design in the PURE Collection is more than its aesthetic creation; it is a way to explore new forms and ways of making. Each piece captures a special moment of perfection with an uniqueness that can only be made with the human hand.
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 Bowlmagnificently scaled as both a functional and decorative piece. The voluminous bowls express the simple richness of the Belmont pottery.
The Woodbury Collection, with its recognizable characteristics of simple, rectilinear forms; has become a favorite. Now, the first bowl has reached its 25th anniversary. Although the designs originated as a pursuit of geometry; they turned out with natural variances that are a result of the handmade process.
Working on the concept, Simon originally wanted to get a vessel that was a sharper version of a square bowl, not looking for a machined look, but a natural rendition of a square bowl. Wood moulds were created and the R&D process was underway; but while doing a trial he found that the glass material had a mind of its own. The raw molten glass would not confirm to the sharp corners of the mould, and would turn out softer and more organic. The top rim of the walls were another unexpected outcome, they would naturally flare to create an arched detail on all four sides. This became a hallmark look for the Woodbury Bowl, and shows us how you can have a natural outcome from the craft of making glass.
Essential to the Simon Pearce line; and an aesthetic synonymous with the brand, the unique Woodbury bowl is a balance between a ideal concept and a sensitivity to what the material can do.
The bowl doubles as a great centerpiece and a useful item for everyday serving. It illustrates the qualities of our glass in its broad wall surfaces, and unique outline.