“We established an artisanal glassblowing studio in an old church in Haliburton twelve years ago,” says Jenn from Artech, a proudly Canadian company that produces glassware from recycled beer bottles. Perhaps it’s their original artistic flare, or maybe it’s their passion, but for some reason, their wares are selling like hot cakes in over 200 stores worldwide.
One of the tenants of these Ontario glassblowers is that art should be functional. “We make high-end art pieces too, but we wanted to make art accessible. We wanted people to be able to have practical glassware that they could use every day, but that was also a great conversation piece,” says Jenn. The sense of humor with clever original designs combined with recycled materials and real craftsmanship is what makes Artech’s wares stand out.
Their focus on sustainability and versatility has enabled them to create beautiful, practical pieces. Their upcycled beer bottle tableware and glassware are handmade by artisans and chief bottle washers Terry Craig and Jennifer Wanless-Craig. Terry enjoys playing with fire and has been known to have an overt fondness for ‘80s cop shows and jumping rope. His partner in crime, Jenn, is a culinary wizard and helps to organize and run the business, come up with designs and homeschool their daughter while still finding time to read the odd Sweet Valley High novel.
“I’d love to tell you that my inspiration comes from long walks in the woods or something, but with a home-schooled twelve-year-old and a fulltime business, it’s usually when I’m in the shower,” Jenn says. Honestly, it doesn’t matter where their inspiration strikes; it’s just nice to see functional art made by passionate people who really give a damn. And it’s pretty amazing too, see for yourself: