For something completely different 0
Glassblower Terry Craig twirls a new creation in his studio in Tory Hill Sept. 19, 2012. Craig and his wife Jenn Wanless-Craig own Artech Studio, which specializes in glass creations. They are on the Haliburton County Studio Tour for the first time this year. JENN WATT/HALIBURTON ECHO/QMI AGENCY
You won’t find a lot of cottage knick-knacks at Artech Studios in Tory Hill.
One of the newest stops on the Haliburton County Studio Tour is also one of the most “urban” when it comes to style.
Situated in the valley of Tory Hill across from McCue Lake, a small crew of artists led by Terry Craig and Jenn Wanless-Craig pump out substantial volumes of glass art.
Their most popular product, beer bottles converted to glasses, has become one of the big draws for Artech, though they do much more.
“It had always been a dream” to own a glassblowing studio, says Terry Craig.
Eight years ago the couple bought the old Tory Hill church and converted it into a home and studio. They converted a shed into a small production facility and they now have one fulltime staff member and one part-time.
There they make colourful glass creations like glasses, vases, bowls and standalone art.
Jenn is the business side of Artech, while Terry focuses on production (though they are both involved in some way in all parts of the business).
Both have formal art training and moved from Toronto to the country to give their daughter a childhood that includes getting outside. Artech takes commissions, sells in 155 shops and has a rigorous schedule of art shows. This year’s studio tour offered them a chance to save some money, travel less and have a bit of fun.
The couple has decided to make their stop on the tour a window into their lives.They will feed visitors the diet of a glassblower: potato chips, water and bananas.
They’ve also made accommodations for kids and pets, which are both part of their lives, and there will be demonstrations of glassblowing.
For the first weekend, they’ve hired a facilitator for kids’ programming, Aaron King, who usually runs the Art Attacks at Rails End Gallery. King will engage kids’ natural curiosity, teaching them about how colours are added to glass creations, allowing them to touch different pieces of glass and giving them a colouring book.
He will be running programming on the first weekend, Sept. 29 and 30. For pets, there will be a penned in area and refreshments. “We tried to make it a unique experience,” says Jenn.
Aside from their wholesale work, Artech is often commissioned for special projects, such as the Haliburton Winterfest awards and Chamber of Commerce awards.
Most recently, they were asked to make props for a feature film coming out next summer, which they can’t yet talk about. “Because of this niche market, there aren’t a lot of glass studios that are out there,” Jenn says.
The couple has a daughter, Anabelle, 8, who participates in the business and has some cup-and-saucer lawn decorations for sale on the tour.
Terry explains that the project is teaching their daughter about the financial side of art – she had to cost out labour and materials and price the decorations herself.
They are excited to be on the tour, which they see as an opportunity to have customers into their studio and to engage on a more intimate level.
Artech Studios is at 18639 Highway 118 in Tory Hill, only metres from its intersection with County Road 503. Contact them at 705-448-9522 or email@example.com. The studio tour runs Sept. 29 and 30 and Oct. 6 and 7 throughout the Haliburton Highlands.