Hand blown glass is a magical process to witness and I feel so fortunate to have met Kate from Infinite Glassworks who has clearly mastered the magic. Kate’s custom pieces are truly works of art and reflect the care and attention that she infuses into every unique piece. Offering workshops in her fantastic studio as well as displaying her custom hand blown pieces, Infinite Glassworks is a must-see for any local maker enthusiast.
How did you find glass blowing and how was Infinity Glassworks born?
I’ve always been a hands-on creative type, drawn to making since my school days. I pursued a three year glass program at Sheridan College, where I met my now-husband, Matthew. After graduation, we spent years renting space in various glassblowing studios, laying the groundwork for Infinite Glassworks. Matthew went on to pursue a different career and I took over the operation of the business. I spent a lot of time on the road those years, driving back and forth from Owen Sound to Glen Williams to blow glass. In 2015, I decided it was time to convert a barn on our former property into my own glassblowing studio. We stripped it down and transformed it, using reclaimed materials. The turning point was in 2016 when I got my custom glassblowing furnace, the Baby Dragon, the first of its kind in Canada. This sweet little furnace is the star of my studio, it operates at 2100ºF and is where I melt and reheat the glass to keep it in its molten state.
What’s your favourite thing to make?
There’s a lot of things I love to make but my absolute favourite is cups. First and foremost, I prefer making functional objects – glass that can be used and has a purpose other than decorative. I’m drawn to functionality, it’s a gateway to continual use. I love the idea of people using my glass daily, making it a part of their lives and routines instead of putting it in a cabinet and bringing it out only for special occasions. I’m interested in the relationship people form with their objects. Our homes are filled with so much stuff (my own included) and some of it is special to us and some is not. I strive to make glass that is special, that evokes a feeling in a person. For me, cups fit that bill nicely. A cup is something you reach for again and again, it’s a daily use object. Held in the hand, brought to the lips – a cup is an intimate part of our daily ritual.
How has the business changed over the years?
Infinite Glassworks hasn’t changed much in a sense that I’m still making functional glass that people can use and love on a daily basis. I look at my business in two distinct parts: the years I rented time at other people’s studio and now having my own studio. Those renting years between 2002 and 2015 were spent building up a business, doing shows and sales and trying to get my work out there into the world. It was fun, but it was gruelling. Having my own studio changed literally everything about my business. Now, I have the control of blowing glass more continuously, and I can manage my time and income in a way that just wasn’t obtainable before. I offer glassblowing classes, something that is only possible because I have my own studio space. I also sell my glass wholesale to other retailers, which affords me more stability than consignment, shows and markets. I’ve had an online store since 2010 which has been building slowly over the years, it came in particularly handy during the pandemic. The magical word of the pandemic was pivot, but for me (and pretty much any other artist or self employed business owner), I’ve been pivotting since day one. It’s hard to make a living as an artist (especially in the backwoods of Grey County) without some flexibility and creative thinking.
Where can people find your pieces?
I sell my work online and in brick and mortar stores throughout Ontario. For the best selection you can shop my glassware via my website at www.infiniteglassworks.com or in person at my studio by appointment. My local retailer is Blue Thornbury, a sweet little contemporary gallery in Thornbury that is thoughtfully curated by Sarah Beveridge. Other retailers include Kokito (Prince Edward County), BNorth Domicile (Online), Modern Fable (Almonte), Art Gallery of Peterborough, Urban Glass (Brooklyn).
What kind of workshops to do you offer?
I love having students in my studio in who are excited to learn something new and experience the thrill of making. I offer beginner glassblowing workshops for 2-4 people, as well as fused glass and metalsmithing classes for larger groups here at my studio in Berkeley. The glassblowing workshops are during the day and the fused glass and metalsmithing workshops are in the evenings. Classes and workshops are only offered at the start of the year and run from January until the end of May. The best way to find out about my workshops are via my website or by signing up to my newsletter.
What’s your favourite thing about running a business in Grey County?
My favourite thing about living, working and running a business in Grey County is the community. I have met so many amazing people here, and not just in the art and creative field. I love that Grey is full of supportive, open and friendly folks. There’s a lot of local love here, and it may be that since we have more locally owned businesses than big box stores, there is a lot of support for small business. I feel so fortunate that I am surrounded by so many amazing people and I am lucky to be literally living my dream.
Location: 560167 Sideroad 70, Berkeley, ON