Finding the Twist

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“Like anything we create, the ideas go through phases of distillation until we happen upon something we love.”  -James Murray

The simplicity of the Woodbury line, finds it hallmark characteristics in the pursuit of trying to produce an object that is geometric, yet handmade.   The brilliant glass of the original Woodbury vase appear to be rectangular but have soft surface changes and a gentle radius that forms at the rim.

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Simon started the vase design back in 1990, and it has proved to be a favorite, and is an icon within our collection.  The original intent of the Woodbury line was to form squares and rectangles in glass that bring some beauty and pragmatism to everyday life.  On the glassblowing floor, while making these items he discovered that the glass flows in it’s own way to form more humanistic surfaces and curves.

Blog post on the full Woodbury glass line here.

In our design studio, we explore ways to continue these concepts of working with geometry and organic soft execution in glass.  While experimenting with ways to re-interpret the rectangular vase, we did some bristol paper models, creasing the center, and adding water to it to soften the paper in the center to form a twist.  The result was intriguing, and so some renderings of the idea followed to further investigate what the effect could be.

We thought this had potential and brought the concept to the glassblowers, who then spent some time trying to capture the nuances of this idea. They ultimately found that heating the center with a torch made the vessel more malleable and they were able to achieve a light gestural twist effect that we loved.

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A visual benefit of the fluid twist in the vase, is that it obscures the stems and branches of flowers, while marrying nicely with the artistry of arranging flowers.

Find the Woodbury Twist vase in the website store here.

 

Designer James Murray featured in Surface Magazine

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James Murray pictured above, full article in Surface Magazine here.

“Whether ideating biomorphic chandeliers or sleek barware sets, the glassblowing aficionado searches for exciting new ways to honor Simon Pearce’s ethos of combining character with function.” -Ryan Waddoups

Some of the featured Simon Pearce products below.

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“I’m most excited about Alpine, my soapstone and glass barware collection. The soapstone elements can be frozen, and once chilled, can keep drinks cold. It’s been well-received and demonstrates how uniting different materials can be a great source for new design concepts.” -James Murray

As the weather turns warmer, and we look for ways to stay cool, sipping chilled drinks can do the trick.  Ice is the usual cooling element, but if you don’t want to water down your drink we propose using frozen soapstone, paired with our handcrafted glass as an optimal way for tasting drinks, particularly bourbon.

The Alpine Collection was also featured on this blog here and on our website here.

vine chandelier

“The Vine chandelier is a new direction for Simon Pearce—we can combine glass in near-limitless combinations with metal for lighting.”

In partnership with the Modern American Blacksmiths of nearby Hubbardton Forge, this handcrafted light fixture is designed to illuminate your dining table, kitchen island or entryway in beautiful hand-forged metal and handblown glass.

The Vine Chandelier was also featured on this blog here and on our website here.

Future development in streamlined, glass-handled bar tools, prototypes shown above, also mentioned in the article.

Check out the full article in Surface Magazine here.

Shaping the Wine Tasting Experience

Introducing the Vintner Collection

 

“We set out to build a glass line with characteristics that are designed for the serious wine taster.” -JM

Last May, Jay Benson, Dana Sabatino, and James Murray ventured on a trip to the California wine country to visit tasting rooms and meet with wine producers we are considering for partnerships. Being inspired, we came back to Vermont and created new stemware to appeal to people serious about wine tasting, and lovers of thin, hand-blown glass that enhances the tasting experience, without having a glass that overtakes the wine, in weight and physicality.

 

The pulled-stem technique that we use, results in a thinner, more lightweight stem and bowl typical of a classic Sommelier’s glass.  The thin stem and base offer functionality and grace.

 

The line was designed with modern proportions, taking cues from our Bristol red wine glass in form.  The glasses are generously scaled to show off the wines within.

There are many options of wine tasting glasses by European makers that are machine made, and have a seam on the stem.  The Vintner Collection from Simon Pearce does not have seams because we hand-craft each glass.

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The thin bowl of the glass is designed to have a lot of volume, and room for air to circulate with the wine, and yet not be heavy. Ripple lines of our handcrafted process still appear in the bowl of our glass, different from machine made glass by other wine tasting glass companies in the industry. Our bowl shapes are ideal, and relate to how quickly  we want the wine to pass into the taster’s mouth, which effects the experience and flavor.

 

An additional benefit of the thin base, is that it is easy to swirl the wine while holding the foot, during a wine tasting.

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The Vintner Collection is sure to please anyone looking for the “whole wine tasting experience”, with the refined balance of the preferred wine in a high quality hand-crafted glass.

The Waterbury Collection

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In design, we continue to be inspired by the natural surroundings here in Vermont. The immersion in Nature easily influences our perspective on developing objects, as the natural elements are filled with interesting forms, textures and colors.  When we consider a new glass line, we strive to capture the artistry that comes from the handmade formation of glass, and the impressions that Nature makes on us.  Fluid and malleable glass is almost unlimited in the possibilities of what can be achieved, and we impose our ideas and reflections on it.

While hiking the Waterbury Trail, we happened upon a small waterfall, and were stuck by how the element of water is always a delight for sense of sight, sound and touch. We also ventured to nearby Moss Glenn Falls for a more dramatic experience.  We  wanted to capture the essence of water flowing and the swirling textures that occur in a new glass.  We started R&D of the glasses based on sketches, but looked to the glassblowers to turn out each glass with a unique interpretation of the watery impression.  Each glass captures a moment in time, with an artistic gesture.

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The collection started with a tumbler, and then we scaled the same design up to a hurricane shape, which looks incredible with candlelight going through the swirling effects.

To compliment the tumbler, we created a carafe with a simple elegant form that lends itself to the layering process of gathers to create optic effects.

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Thinking about lighting, and the interaction with gathered glass effects, Simon created the Waterbury lamp in two sizes, to compliment the collection.  As the glassblowers work with these voluminous shapes, the layered effects of the double-gathered glass give a feeling of water movement that is visually stunning.  The lamps come to life when you see the light going through the glass, much like the dynamic impression from the streams and waterfalls of Vermont.

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Chestnut Hill Store

We are pleased to open our 10th store today in our new Chestnut Hill, MA location. This store opening was made possible by the collaboration of key people with many different specialties, here at Simon Pearce. With this essential teamwork across departments, we have set a new bar for ourselves with this beautiful retail experience.

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The store reflects a new direction of design, that takes people on a journey to discover a unique connection to us through glass and pottery.  Our main intention of the store design, is to welcome the customers to explore the world of handcrafted excellence, and bring the essence of the Vermont landscape that inspires us to Chestnut Hill.   

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Overall, the store has a warm natural contemporary feel, with beautiful real materials of solid wood, wrought steel and earthy tones that are used throughout the main retail floor. It appeals to the customer that appreciates a humanistic approach to design, with a blend of our two important core concepts: exquisite iconic products and simple practicality to be enjoyed everyday. The product presentations are intended to inspire with dynamic displays and make shopping easy by categories.  The planning and product development teams mapped out the store with focused planograms.

A copper-top bar, similar to the large one we have in our flagship Mill will highlight our barware, and connect back to Vermont.  We are featuring a pair of our recently launched vine chandeliers that make a focal point in the center of the store. They show a new dimension of what we can do with our glass and the element of light.

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In the front of the store we installed a large scale video screen, that reveals the mastery that goes into our products, with the artisans that make them. 

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The retail team, lead by Dana Sabatino, VP of Customer Experience, coordinated efforts to outfit the store and finesse the product displays.

The store fixturing is an assortment of furniture designed specifically for this new location.  The combination of solid walnut and burnished steel create a streamlined aesthetic for the retail floor.  Jan Mollmark built the illuminated shelving units throughout the store, that feature our quintessential glass and pottery.

From drawing to reality.

We partnered with Andrew Pearce to have the pieces hand-built here in Vermont, at his facility in Hartland. Andrew and his team worked over the span of many weeks to refine the construction details for both the steel welding and wood, to finish it all under one roof. The result is an elegant group, built to last.

The new store design features a separate studio space in the back that highlights our handcrafted pendants, and lamps with a table in the center, where interior designers can meet with clients. 

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The studio is also conducive to the Gift Registry, where customers have this work table on which to create their ideal place-setting, or to choose the personalized assortment that they would want to have in their home.

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The retail team has opened the doors!

“The new store is fantastic; awesome job by all. Thank you.”       -Simon Pearce

Every Dog has its Year

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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.

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The iconic glass dog is a joy to have and to hold.

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Fire & Ice: Alpine Soapstone

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As the weather turns warmer, and we look for ways to stay cool, sipping chilled drinks can do the trick.  Ice is the usual cooling element, but if you don’t want to water down your drink we propose using frozen soapstone, paired with our handcrafted glass as an optimal way for tasting drinks, particularly bourbon.

With the popularity of our Ludlow collection, we thought the soapstone could take the place of the wood, and once we tested some samples of this new combination we were delighted to find the stone truly chilled the glass. Take it from the freezer, and it can cool your drink in about 8-10 minutes, and conversely, can be used for warming drinks as well.

Throughout New England, soapstone is a common material found on kitchen counter-tops, which are known for their durability, smooth touch, and low porosity.  This ancient natural stone, is the result of volcanic geological formations from long ago. It’s most notable properties are that it can stay cold or hot for a long time. The material is very unique for its workable characteristics, and can be sculpted as the Inuit would, and also made it into a variety of functional designs.  We named it Alpine after the northern ridges we have here in Vermont and New England.

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Experience how this unique stone can chill your drink as it cradles the glass. 

Whiskey Glass / Whiskey Glass Set / Wine Chiller

See the feature in the New York Times: here

Celebrating Everyday Moments

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Tell your story.

The flat rim of our best selling Celebration Bowl was designed to showcase engraved sentiments of all sorts, making it the go-to for those milestone moments.

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Behind the scenes engraving.

Its strong, tapered base rises to a flat, flared rim that’s purpose-built for engraving.

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New Celebration designs inspire even more ways to etch good times in glass.

 

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Celebration Tealight

Highly customizable, perfectly functional and designed to go with any décor – stock up on one of our best selling gifts.

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Watch as one of our artisans creates the canvas on which so many of life’s momentous occasions have been marked.

Celebrate in Style.

Lighting the Way

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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.

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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.

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The Echo Lake Collection

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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.

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The glass blowers use fine strands of molten glass that are quickly wrapped around these cylindrical shapes to create a watery and icy effect.

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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.