Thursday, September 12, 2013

The “Original” Ring of Fire Glass Work: Rockaway Beach, Oregon

The building
It was the handwritten “Sale” sign in front of a table filled with blown glass works that caught our eye as we were passing through RockawayBeach, Oregon, on our way to Tillamook. Joanne said, “I have always wanted an oil lamp. Let’s stop.”

We drove up the road a bit, turned around, and headed back to the place with the handwritten “Sale” sign in front.

The "Sale" sign
We pulled in front of what appeared to be an old converted shop with adjoin office. In the right side was a dog groomer place, and the old bay had been converted to glass works shop. Above the big bay garage door hung the sign “the Original Ring of Fire Glass Works.”

The Original Ring of Fire Glass Works

We parked and sauntered over to the table that had initially caught our eye as we whizzed by. The single table was filled with gorgeous blown glass works, all colors and shapes. 

We were marveling at the craftsmanship of the glass works when a man with his cap on backwards approached us and said hello. He introduced himself as John and welcomed us to his shop. He humbly told us he was the owner and the artisan and was more than happy to explain the glass blowing process and what he was doing.

Glass works
After looking at several oil candles in a variety of colors, Joanne decided on a beautiful light blue milky oil candle. And as it happened, this one was on sale as promised. Like a father putting his newborn baby in a cradle, John carefully wrapped it up in bubble wrap and placed it gently into a box. John treats each piece as his creations.

Beauty at its best
After making our purchase, Joanne and our daughter who was with us left the shop with her precious box and headed down the street to an antique shop. I stayed and chatted with John.

He showed him his shop, his kilns, the various colors of glass that he purchases wholesale from a glass shop, the machine that pulverizes the glass used in the blowing process, and then some of his glass works.  

Different colors of glass
As to the colors, John says that “everything produced is made in house with exceptional color that will not fade.”

Gorgeous vases
When I asked him about how he decides on the design, he told me “it just comes to me.” He has had years of practice and has traveled the country with his works. During the actual glass blowing process, his “process creates a colorful and very sturdy finished product.”

John working on a piece of his kiln
One of the things that intrigued me most was John’s gregarious nature and his teacher-like ways. In fact, he is a teacher. He offers courses in glass blowing in this converted shop, and his students learn quickly. Plus, when he is working, visitors are invited to watch John and other artists work.”

No matter what my question was—and I had a lot of them—John was more than happen to answer them for me—truly a master at both glass blowing, teaching, and salesmanship.

Lots of hanging glass
Some of the glass works John offers are: hummingbird feeders, oil candles, hurricane lamps, lamp shades, Christmas ornaments, vases, and much, much more.

Christmas ornaments. John gave me one of the blue ones.
As I was waiting for Joanne and Hailey’s return, John came out and gave me a gorgeous dark blue Christmas ornament. I was stunned that he would gift me such a prized possession.

When Joanne and Hailey returned, we remembered that John told us he personally signed all of his works. Unfortunately, before he signed our glass work, he packaged it. We took it back into the shop, and John carefully unwrapped the box, cautiously pulled out the globe, signed it, and then gently placed it back in, and resealed it. We thank him profusely.

It is always wonderful to become acquainted with real artists. And glass blower extraordinaire John is one such person whose eye for color and diligent innovation creates masterpieces that you will be proud to own.

John was quick to point out that he is at the Manzanita Farmers’ Marketon Fridays, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

You can check out John’s Ring of Fire Glass Works website at