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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Travel Post #1 for 2010 ~ Lincoln City, Oregon ~ Supplemental

I wanted to save the best for last, so I purposely did not mention Fernhill Glass Studio in my original post about our trip to the Oregon Coast. They truly deserve their own post, as they were the highlight of the trip, for me.
The house and studio


Claude

Fernhill Glass Studio is located along Hwy 101, just as you approach Astoria, Oregon from the south. The story of how they came to be at this location is detailed on the website, and is extremely interesting.

As we anticipated arriving in Astoria, one of my favorite coastal destinations, we saw a little sandwich board sign along the road that said simply "Glass Blower" in big red letters, with an arrow pointing towards this lovely old white building. As we pulled into the driveway, we noticed a funny-shaped little studio with the sign "Fernhill Glass". We were welcomed into the studio/hot shop/gallery by Chris, as Claude worked his magic on one of his infamous "tie-dye" vases.


Fernhill Tie-Dye Vase by Claude
We sat down and watched as Claude pushed, pulled and rolled the glass...until this beautiful creation appeared, as if by magic! All the while, Claude and Chris answered our questions and told us their stories. These are two genuinely nice people. It was fun to watch Chris as she anticipated what Claude would need next: an extra hand here, a tool there, etc. She also blows glass during the week there at the Fernhill Studio, while Claude is at his other studio...wait for it...The Gorge Glashaus at McMenamins Edgefield!! This is a very popular venue, and I've heard people talking about how great the glass blowers are who work there...well, turns out that Claude owns it and works there from "noonish - 7pm" during the week. We felt very fortunate to catch him working in his home studio that day.
We began to discuss the glass industry, Rose Valley Glass, etc and found out that Claude used to work at Uroboros in Portland, once upon a time! How interesting and small this world can be, I kept thinking to myself! :) 

Claude's Basket Series

After Claude had finished another vase, Chris announced that she had to leave for Meat Bingo! What?! Evidently, it's a local thing. They play bingo on Sunday evenings, but the winners receive meat instead of (or perhaps in addition to?) winning money! What an interesting thing to do, but helpful in this economy, I'm sure. :)

We stayed and talked to Claude for another hour or so, as the late afternoon air began to chill and the light began to change. It was a magical experience that I shall remember for a long time to come. Ted and I had not gotten our customary trinket to commemorate the occassion (our anniversary), so decided to purchase one of Claude's lovely vases in a vibrant, transparent raspberry pink. Gorgeous!

So, to sum up, if you see the sign, stop in and watch Claude (and/or Chris) work some glass magic. You'll learn a lot and meet some wonderful people in the process! I know we'll be stopping by to visit them again very soon.


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