“When I set out to design this bowl, I wanted its form to lift off the table surface, have side walls that created plenty of volume, and be useful as a salad bowl—or be just a beautiful centerpiece, that could stand on its own.” —James Murray
Today, with so many expectations of total perfection, most people typically look to objects or technology to represent it. In contrast to that philosophy, in our design work at Simon Pearce, we look to project character and uniqueness—a bit of artistic imperfection—as real expressions. It is this very quality that evokes our love and connection to the work.”
Master potter Mike Trempe throws these bowls on a potter’s wheel. To intentionally allow the mark of the potter to be a visible part of the design, we deliberately leave Mike’s throw lines on the bowl’s sidewalls. Master potter Matt McFarland created the glaze by applying an oxide effect on the rim of the bowl that blends into our signature white glaze. The result is a reactive interplay of textures, colors, and form that is unique to every bowl, surprising us in every rendition of this design.
Stratton truly expresses the art of glass making. The technique of putting air into the glass and twisting it through the stem takes exceptional skill and harkens back to old-world handcrafting techniques.
The air twist concept has existed all the way back to the Georgian times and Simon has a few fine examples in his personal collection.
Simon carefully evaluated each of the pieces and recently spent time with the glassblowing team in Quechee to reimagine the Stratton design. The result is a more refined and singular approach to the stemware collection. The air twist now has a consistent look, and the proportions of the glasses are updated to the right capacities for
Simon Pearce is about revealing the inherent beauty of the glass…and handcrafting it to a natural outcome. As a counterpoint to mass production and mechanized perfection, we make things with time-honored traditional methods.
Glass and wood have had a long standing relationship from the ancient technique of using wooden mould to form the glass designs. The wood moulds don’t last forever, and we typically only get between 50-200 items from a mould, so we recreate them constantly. We do this all in-house, and behind the scenes a lot of our tooling is made In our own shop. I was inspired to bring the wood and glass back together as a final design, and explored their relationship in forms.
Simon and I refined the shapes that would best compliment each other in glass and wood. The design process took about three months using geometry and proper proportions as the guiding direction. Some of the forms were mocked up in alternative materials like foam before going to a prototyping stage….we then worked with the moulds department to make the first samples. We then spent about 6-8 weeks perfecting the items.
Walnut was chosen because of the richness in grain, and the beautiful tonality of this hard wood. The mid tone of the walnut also contrasts nicely with our brilliant glass. The ludlow collection now has about 12 items, all built to last, with handcrafted excellence. A recent addition to the line is the signature pitcher with the same modern profile as the whole collection. A great addition to any home, the Ludlow items are geared towards casual entertaining for gatherings and celebrations with family and friends.
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.
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.