The Everlasting Beauty of the Simon Pearce Glass PumpkinOct 13, 2021 06:00PM ● By Virginia Dean
Photo from the Simon Pearce Website.
There is nothing like fall in Vermont. The colors of the leaves are rapidly changing, residents and visitors are foraging at local farmers’ markets, and the season is in full swing for pumpkin picking. At Simon Pearce Bar & Restaurant, sitting on the edge of the Ottauquechee River in Quechee, VT, members are busy creating the handcrafted glass favorites of the season including pumpkins, acorns, and other objects.
Staying true to their design theme of being inspired by nature, the restaurant’s artful glass pumpkins with their curly stems are derived from their quest to capture the nuances of how they truly grow, according to employees. This handmade glass gourd features a jaunty swirl of a stem, an art-glass expression of a classic harvest symbol. The classic and iconic, simple stem pumpkins were launched in 2013 and come in two styles: original and twist. They are handcrafted one at a time by the restaurant’s master artisans, who present the pumpkins in two colors and sizes small (about four inches, $125), medium (about six inches, $175)), and large (about nine inches, $240).
The pumpkin designs are a refined combination of optic details, curvy shapes, and an overall softness. They make excellent décor gifts, especially for those who appreciate the unique characteristics of handmade glass. Interested buyers can visit any of the Simon Pearce shops or at its flagship mill to sorts through the latest batch of pumpkins to find the perfect shape that speaks to them.
The restaurant’s new crystalline pottery pumpkins – launched this year – started with some ideal ‘real’ pumpkin shapes picked up from the Woodstock Farmers Market for the pottery to try to model so that they could be cast. New crystalline colors of sunset and candent were perfect for the launch. Artisan Matt McFarland developed the glazes and the technique to allow the glazes to dun down the entire ceramic form. The crystals are formed by adding ingredients to float around on the glaze and cool slowly. The size of the crystals is determined by how long the minerals remain in the molasses-like glaze before it drops in temperature. Only some shapes will adequately hold this type of glaze. The shape needs to orient itself in a way so that when the glaze is applied to the top rim of the vessel, the crystals form at the desired place on the piece. The production of this glaze technique fell out of favor after it was invented in a Parisian pottery factory of the late 1800s due to its time-intensive and expensive process, but re-emerged in the 1920s. Today, the Simon Pearce crystalline assortment includes over a dozen different shapes in five different colors.
Fueled by the Ottauquechee River, Simon Pearce’s turbine-powered glassblowing studio is the place to watch artisans trained in Simon’s techniques create functional works of art. Located at 1760 Quechee Main Street, store hours are Monday-Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Glassblowing hours are Monday-Tuesday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Wednesday-Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Directions: From Exit 1 on I-89 in Vermont, follow Route 4 West for 0.8 miles. Turn right onto Quechee Main Street. In 1.7 miles, you will find the store on your left. Contact www.simonpearce.com or 802-295-1470. If you are unable to attend the glassblowing studio in person, visit YouTube.com to discover how these decorative glass and crystalline pumpkins are made.