I was introduced to flameworked glass, in 2004, when I first meet Mook of Mook’s Glass.
After seeing his glass, I insisted he give me a lesson. Apparently, I had a sparkle in my eye so he hesitantly accepted. After some introductory lessons on Cortes Island, I was ready to focus my eyes on the new world of blown glass. I was 18 years old at the time. After finding some used glassblowing gear on Craig’s List, I set up in a small trailer at my dad’s place on Quadra Island. That was the start of Gibson’s Glassworks, which is now a well-recognized name in the Canadian Glass industry.
Since my initial introduction, I have been committed to developing my glass eye and understanding the complex, magical medium of glass. Developing my ‘glass eye’ enables me to see the glass in a whole new realm. Growing up, I was taught to ‘make something people use every day’ and to ‘learn a trade.’ Glassblowing has enabled me to do both of these things.
Glassblowing is a broad term and a medium devised of many different types of glass. Borosilicate, specifically, is the type of glass I have specialized in over the years. You may know it as Pyrex, which is the brand name, and appears in common household items like your lasagna tray or measuring cups. The process I use to create my work is called lampworking or flameworking, referring to the early days when it was done using the flame of an oil burning lamp.
I have been teaching classes for several years now. With growing demand, I have expanded my teaching capacities, currently focusing on single or two person classes. This way, people watch and learn hands on. First, with demos from me, then getting a chance to feel the molten glass in the flame themselves. As gravity takes over, you instantly become aware of the difficulty and develop more respect for those who make blowing glass look so easy. I have also been fortunate enough to take my classes overseas, setting-up a glass blowing torch and teaching locals in a small village in Jamaica.
Before the legalization of marijuana, shops were being raided and shut down. Businesses were uncertain whether or not they would survive. Sending glass on a front and waiting for a check in the mail was standard business practice, but, after constantly getting ripped off, things needed to change. That meant no more fronts and orders needed to be paid in full before shipping. So, I made a catalog. Since high school, I had always been online and figured this would be the new way. Boy, was that the truth. Online sales have now dominated my business, with a vast majority coming through Instagram alone.
Developing my glass eye has taken me all over the globe and has allowed me to meet so many amazing people and develop life-long friendships. Building product lines that are original and unique, while also recognizable, has been a constant goal of mine and it is so rewarding to make something that will not only outlive me but will bring a person much joy.
To schedule a class or check out Gibson’s newest work visit instagram @gibsonsglassworks, www.gibsonsglassworks.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org