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In 2009, Laurel found the site on Lower Mill in Hood River, OR. The construction of this studio would be a long thought about dream come true. She proceeded to design the building, act as general contractor, and take part in many of the construction details. After 1 year of construction, the studio and gallery opened to the public on November 6th, 2010.
The Studio is situated amidst the East Hills and Mid Valley Orchards between the Columbia River Gorge and Mt Hood in the county of Hood River, Oregon. From the garden and many vantage points within the studio itself, Mt Adams in Washington can be seen prominently on a clear day. Laurel designed the studio to meet her ever changing project needs, to share the artwork and processes with the public via the gallery, classes, and events, and to simply but more magnificently, manifest a place where challenging creative ideas could be explored, shared, and realized.
The Studio Facility and property consists of 8500 sq ft of working space on one acre and houses the following:
A Sculpture Garden with 8 pads for medium to large scale outdoor sculpture display, a view of Mt Adams, accompanied by seating for moments of contemplation and areas for simply having a family picnic. As the seasons pass, plants will be planted, sculptures revolve and evolve, the goal of the garden is to create a welcome environment where nature and art can be shared and moments of peace, excitement, and emotion in response to the art and area can all be explored.
The Gallery was designed by Laurel and constructed by the staff and volunteers at the studio. With 800 or more sq feet of showing space, custom glass shelving, stainless and wood decor, fun lighting and intimate wall niches, the artwork is illuminated for viewers. From the gallery there is also a close up and personal viewing area which enables visitors to watch glass being blown only feet away. The doors are open for patrons to stroll respectfully into the working area to get a better view of the studio and its working order.
The Hot Shop is the glass blowing area equipped with two glory holes of different sizes for a variety of work, small bit ovens for light duty work or bit work, a pipe warmer and cooler, our pride and joy….Moly…our 400 lb crucible electric furnace, and numerous other kilns for annealing work. We make an effort to blow at least Friday through Sunday during the busy season, but can be found creating works of art every other day of the week.
The Kiln-Forming Department is where a many techniques are employed. As you can read in more depth in the Techniques portion of the site, Kiln-Forming covers simply any glass process utilizing a kiln for manipulation of the glass. This includes slumping, fusing, texturing, casting, as well as fire polishing and sometimes fuming. In 2008, Laurel worked with Kenny Simpson, a well known kiln and industrial furnace designer/builder/Thermal Engineer, to design and build in house, a kiln specifically made for large scale architectural production. This large-scale kiln accommodates a 7 by 12ft working area. The Kiln-Forming area utilizes other smaller kilns for many techniques along with light tables, hand tools, etc, depending on the project.
The Model making area is equipped with clay melting ovens, wax pots, and numerous carving and sculpting tools. There is also a rendering wall for creating large life-size drawing for projects of scale.
The Cold Shop is where all cold methods of working glass are performed. This includes cutting, grinding, polishing, etching, sanding, etc. Most glasswork requires at least a minimum amount of cold-working in order to be complete. In this same space we have our mold making area for rubber mold making, high temp mold making, and a variety of custom template and sculptural design processes. Many of these processes require water therefore floor drains are built into the space in order to accommodate these needs.
The Metal Shop is equipped for doing sculptural steel, stainless, copper, and brass work with a great number of hand tools, welders, plasma cutter, a 22ft tall, 2 ton jib crane with a 38ft diameter swing for producing large work. Other equipment includes saws, small brake and roller, a future forge and anvil, and other sculpture specific tools. Metal fabrication is a regular requirement in the studio for anything from building equipment, as we have for a great deal of the shop in general, to producing sculpture.
The Woodshop houses basic woodworking equipment and is where we are mostly building furniture for our internal needs, crating for shipping projects, and other miscellaneous necessities.
Our upstairs mezzanine holds our design studio for large layout, drawing, and production, offices, lounge, photo studio, workout area, and storage.