Leaving the City of Glass behind, I set sail to the Sunshine Coast this summer to spend time with two talented artisans who make a living working with glass. Their glass however isn’t stacked high into symmetrically sculpted skyscrapers reflecting cityscapes, it’s carefully hand- fired and crafted into beautiful and accessible works of art.
My first stop was at Chris Motloch’s Molten Spirit Glass Studio in Roberts Creek where he hosts an interactive workshop during the Sunshine Coast Art Crawl (Oct. 20-22). For the past few years, participants have been able to visit Motloch’s studio, browse his masterful pieces that whimsically spill out onto the forest floor around his studio, and make their very own glass pumpkin.
“Pumpkins are the most enjoyable things I make out of glass because it doesn’t matter how funky they look. Asymmetrical? Perfect!”
For such a playful final look, there is a lot of precision that goes into the process. “It’s all about heat control and timing,” Motloch told me as he cranked up the ovens to show me – in the spirit of the Art Crawl – how to make my own pumpkin.
After a demo and explanation of the multi-step process, it was my turn to take control of the rod that supported a glob of molten glass on the end, turn it in the oven, then walk it over to a table where I would roll it into colourful, shimmering glass dust to give it its pattern.
Motloch’s pumpkin-making is becoming a tradition, with a lot of families coming back for the third or fourth year in a row. I can see why. You get to be creative, learn a new skill, make something you probably never would have ever made on your own, and the end result is pretty stunning.
Aside from pumpkins, Motloch makes brilliant custom commissioned pieces along with platters, bowls, vases, hummingbird feeders, and even jellyfish.
The cost of the workshop during the Art Crawl is less than the cost of the pumpkins Motloch usually sells on his own. So, you not only get the glass-blowing experience, but the, “I made this!” feeling of accomplishment.
After all, he says that’s what visitors are looking for, the story and the experience.
My next experience was waiting for me over in Gibsons.
Following the famed Purple Banner self-guided studio tour, I made my way over to visit Tim Kline of Coast Chimes in Gibsons.
Sea glass, beach stones, driftwood, all of these elements can be found washed up on the shores of the Sunshine Coast – and can be found beautifully assembled and crafted into masterpieces by Kline.
While 90 per cent of Kline’s business is online – he’s been featured as a top seller through his Shopify store — during the Art Crawl, you also get to see his pieces live and talk to the artist himself. It’s what he loves, meeting people face to face during this annual event.
“There’s enthusiasm, an element of surprise,” Kline says.
Visitors find it refreshing to see his blue, emerald, and olive glass chimes in person, and to find out how affordable they are.
For the past two decades Kline has been perfecting his chimes, and the tools with which he makes them, like his own sea glass tumbler. He looks to make pieces that are durable, beautiful, and have a great sound.
“I like my job because it has so many different elements. I get to use table saws, drills, glass, metal, flame, banging things, all of that.”
Best part is he gets to go beachcombing for supplies!
He now finds himself making pieces just for the Art Crawl, and anything left over becomes a part of his online inventory – just in time for Christmas shopping season.
So, I wondered why these proficient craftsman, Kline and Motloch, gravitate towards glass?
The answer is simple. It’s versatile, colourful, it can wash up on the shores or be transformed from recycled materials. And it can be delicate or durable, light and reflective. It’s functional art.
You can visit both artists along with 130 other artisans, potters, fibreworks artists, blacksmiths, jewelry designers, galleries, and studios during the Sunshine Coast Art Crawl happening Oct. 20-22, 2017.
For additional information and to learn more about the mobile app and map check out the Sunshine Coast Art Crawl official website
Interested in checking out the Sunshine Coast? Visit SunshineCoast.com for trip-planning ideas.
Joining in on the art crawl? Share this page with friends and consider inviting them along.