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.
Experience how this unique stone can chill your drink as it cradles the glass.
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.
Inspired by glass buoys floating off the shores of the Pearce family home in Eleuthera, Simon’s globe-and-stem design is a signature silhouette handmade by a duo of master glassblowers working in tandem.
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.
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…
Looking over the rushing waterfall in Quechee; you are immediately enamored with the forces of nature, and the way the sunlight hits the turbulent water.
We wanted to capture this experience in an Art glass piece. Something more expressive than our typically functional items. First, some sketches of the waterfall and got ideas down on paper; then we quickly went to work with the master glassblowers to find ways to achieve the effects that look like water.
The pieces are first created with a large bubble captured in the base which takes a high level of skill. The glassblowers then wrap molten glass around the shape, and form the strands of glass into the wavy effects. The visual texture of water flowing over the falls then starts to appear in the glass.
We ultimately arrived at the dramatic ‘water vase’ by observing the turbulent water flow, and crafting that moment into a glass vessel that only a master glassblower can finesse.