Handblown Glass Décor Made Right Here in Warren County, PA.
I had the pleasure of visiting Rich Selfridge of Tidioute recently. I had previously been shopping at J. Lauren Interior Design in Tidioute before Christmas and noticed the most beautiful glass pumpkins and a variety of detailed glass ornaments. When I asked Dolores Timco, owner of J. Lauren Interior Design, where they were made, I expected to hear Germany or maybe Italy. I was very surprised to learn that they were made in Tidioute! A few months later, when thinking about the amazing things that were made in Warren County, my thoughts went back to the beautiful glass pumpkins and ornaments. I learned that the maker of the glass décor was Rich Selfridge, and I knew that I had to meet with him and find out more about how the process of making these beautiful creations were done. Rich was kind enough to meet with me and answer my many questions. Before coming to Tidioute, Rich lived in Tennessee. Twenty three years ago he befriended a scientific worker that worked in the glass business. Rich found quite an interest and began learning more about the detailed process of blowing glass. Some time went by and he met a man from California that studied glass blowing in Italy. This man shared more information about the art of glass blowing with Rich. Rich went on to travel to every state in the U.S.A except for Minnesota and continued to pick up more and more knowledge of the art of glass blowing. Eventually Rich made his home in Tidioute and continued his art. Working with glass is not easy. There are multiple types of glass. A few kinds of glass that Rich works with are Borosilicate glass, Soft glass, and Dichroic glass which is also used on the windshield of the space shuttle. Rich said Soft glass is made from sand, soda ash, and limestone. There are hundreds of books containing recipes for glass. Rich puts the glass in a furnace set as high as 2300 degrees Fahrenheit. He uses a long pole to shape the glass and when it comes out of the furnace, he blows through a blowpipe to further shape it to what he desires to make. Borosilicate glass has different methods of coloring. Soft glass uses frit, crushed up colored glass, to color or tint the product. Rich makes many creations such as vases, ornaments, pumpkins, mugs, bowls, and jewelry. The possibilities are endless! The average room temperature during a day of work for Rich in the summer is approximately 120 degrees Fahrenheit! The Dichroic glass can be laser cut to make images on the jewelry that he creates. Rich sells his beautiful work in stores and galleries as far away as New Jersey, California, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vermont, New York, and Ohio yet still chooses to call Warren County PA. home! Rich also teaches approximately 800 children every year at Camp Stone with an introductory class on glass blowing and has shown many of them how to create candleholders, perfume bottles, cups, goblets, and coasters. His beautiful creations must be seen in person to truly appreciate. Of course I couldn't resist taking home my very own glass pumpkin with a color that fit my décor perfectly! Take a trip to J. Lauren Interior Design in Tidioute, PA. to see another remarkable product made right here in Warren County, PA. and to find your very own glass creation to take home. Thanks go out to Dolores Timco for hosting our meeting at J. Lauren Interior Design and to Rich Selfridge for taking time out of his busy schedule to meet with me and share some very interesting facts about his art.