Glass Blowing Magic

By:  Katelyn Zavora

Down a few backroads and up into the serene and quiet hills you can find a real treat! Some of the best works of art come out nature’s quiet places. This is exactly what you’ll find here at the Glass Blowing Center. Tom, the owner and glass master here, has created so many beautiful items you need to see for yourself.

As you pull up, you’ll notice the colorful “Partridge Family” bus out front enticing you to stop in. Walking up the front lawn, you’ll find shining crystal-like glass catching the sun’s rays glinting brightly. Take a closer look at the sparkling mass and you’ll see the intricate details of a work of art. You haven’t even stepped inside the shop yet and it already feels like a fairy garden. Look a little closer, past the hanging glass sculpture, and you’ll notice swirls of color glinting in the tall grass. It’s a mushroom, but not just an ordinary mushroom, it’s made of glass.The swirls of color on top of these mystical looking creations really sets a light imaginative atmosphere. All the details of this place are like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale. If you lift your gaze from the interesting little swirls in the grass, you’ll notice a sword in the stone. The sword looks like the ghost of Excalibur. If a sparkling glass ghost of a legendary sword is not a treasure, I’m not sure what is! 

Take a step inside and be awed by the dazzling ornaments hanging above your head or maybe take a look at the flashy fish hanging on display and keep in mind they are not just decoration.Tom Doner, the Willy Wonka of this sparkly dream, has also been reviving a historic fishing lure in which you will only ever need just one minow for the duration of your fishing voyage. This little minnow tube is made of glass that Tom has handblown. The tubes are live bait lures that were first patented in the early 1800’s, enabling anglers to fish with one minnow all day long.  In those days, you had to catch your own bait so in order to keep things simple, you could just use one minnow all day, protected inside the glass and safety of the tube surrounded by hooks. These historic inspired lures Tom has created are for sale in the shop and definitely worth the trip out! Imagine the patience it must have taken to make each of the crystal-like pieces. Don’t just imagine, bring a whole group for a free demonstration! See how molten glass takes on the consistency of honey and is pulled, stretched, and turned into a colorful creation.

Not only can you purchase glass handblown by the artists, but you can learn to do it yourself. Take it up as a hobby, and work at mastering this new craft.

Tom first started working with honey before he started using molten glass to learn the techniques behind this art. He says he may not be able to draw anything too well, but he can make it into a flawless 3-D model with little issue. 

Tom and his wife, Elaine, have a beautiful property to work with and it’s in a quiet place where the serene bits of nature can be a comfort to people from the city. It’s not too far from the North Country Trail, making it the perfect place to enjoy nature. Nature has the ability to stir creativity and influence the quality of all the works of art created here. Customers and students are able to experience that flow of creative energy that hangs thick in the air around this quiet place. That being said, not many have found this little gem. It is unfortunate to see what kind of opportunity  the community and visitors are missing out on. There are not many places where allow you to learn so closely with an instructor. Lessons only allow for two people to learn at a time. This makes each lesson more personal and can help you improve your skills with a more personal instructor. You are not just a number in a class here. With two full hours of time into each lesson and the personal attention that is given in those classes, Tom can provide some of the best instruction.  Tom and Elaine are some wonderful people who work exceedingly hard to provide the world with artistic beauty. Between Tom’s creations in the shop and the artistic learning experience they provide for others, their business is truly one-of-a-kind! Tom and Elaine want to provide a sense of community through the arts and do so in many ways. Tom has given free group demonstrations for the Girl Scouts and for many other groups. The two of them run the shop together six days a week while Tom creates new and interesting pieces to sell. Even though they both already put a lot of time into their business they are still looking to do more to provide an ultimate art experience for their students and customers.