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MEET OUR MAKER
Our global community of like-minded partners include vase makers that work
in vastly different materials. Gary Bodker Designs hand-crafts organically-shaped
glass vases in his Portland, Oregon studio. We checked in with
this small business owners recently to see how he’s staying fulfilled, optimistic,
and joyful during these challenging times.
GARY BODKER DESIGNS
Gary Bodker is a Portland, Oregon-based glass artist who designs and produces functional
glassware in rich, beautiful colors that catch and reflect the light. Gary’s work
ranges from carafes, bottles, and cups to his signature Little Gem and Big Gem vases.
Each piece is unique, durable, and intended for everyday use.
Tell us about your office/studio.
My office is a little 100 square ft room attached to my 1400 square ft studio. My glassblowing studio consists of a furnace that melts 300 lbs of glass at a time and maintains a temperature of 2120 degrees 24/7. I have two reheating chambers called glory holes that we turn on and off every day. They reach temperatures of 2400 degrees. I also have 4 kilns used for cooling the glass. It’s a small shop, but it’s a nice private space for me to work.
What’s your biggest challenge as a maker?
The biggest challenge, specifically for a glass maker, is to balance the production, business and creative sides at the same time. Designing a product and creating it one time is a challenge, but being able to replicate it many times over, and training a team to be able to make it is a whole different ballgame. Add in the business logistics and preparing production schedules and I find I really need to be a jack of all trades.
Finding a team of like-minded and hardworking individuals is key. Without a solid team, the business doesn’t run. People who love glass and want to work hard will you help you succeed every day.
How are you staying strong and resilient?
Staying strong is easy. I have been through some rough times with my business, but now things are getting better every year. In the end, I tell myself its only glass and money. Also, my dogs help.
"I FIND THAT WHEN I CREATE A SUCCESSFUL PRODUCT IT’S BECAUSE I ACTUALLY USE IT AT HOME. I GUESS MY HOME IS LIKE MY TESTING GROUND."
Where do you find moments of joy?
Spending time at home with my family and dogs, cooking and eating.
What are you grateful for? Any special silver linings?
I’m grateful for everything! I know nothing is guaranteed and each day is a blessing. I get to get up every day and blow glass because I have retailers and customers that love what I make. It’s really a dream come true.
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