How it's Made

Naturally Inspired: Kingston Glass Studio and Gallery

In 2006, the intersection of disparate cultures and complimentary interests united two artisans in a nascent creative endeavor. After meeting and graduating from college where they were both studying glass blowing, artists Mariel Waddell and Alexi Hunter founded Kingston Glass Studio & Gallery in picturesque downtown Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Their drastically different backgrounds and passion to create gave them the formed the infrastructure and provided the inspiration to grow a thriving business celebrating their love of glass. Join us as we visit the Mariel and Alexi's studio to learn about the people and the process behind their exquisite creations. 

The artists: Mariel and Alexi

Mariel Waddell is an award-winning glass artist from Trinidad who has also lived in other tropical countries such as Barbados and Costa Rica. The experience of living in these centers of natural beauty is elemental to her artistic inspiration. Using molten glass bits, Mariel embodies the oceans reefs and currents of her memories in her work. 

 Starry Bowl

Teal Glass Drop Ornament / Purple Glass Drop Ornament

 

Alexi Hunter was born on the West Coast of Canada but lived around the world before settling into Eastern Ontario. Having spent his formative years at his family’s farm near Kingston, Ontario, much of his work is inspired by childhood memories, the rural landscape and the exquisite beauty of Kingston and its surrounding islands. He believes that “Kingston offers artists of all mediums a compatible environment where they can find inspiration and enjoy a creative lifestyle.”

Alexi working a molten gather 

Mariel and Alexi's fully equipped glass blowing studio is complete with a 300 lb. furnaces and 5 kilns. To start each piece, a hollow steel pipe is used to gather molten glass out of the furnace, which is kept at 2100 degrees.

 Mariel shaping a glass vessel

Color is added and the glass is blown and shaped by hand into a design. The glass is then reheated to allow for further sculpting. Traditional techniques and tools are used to create specific designs conceived of by the artists. 

 A 2100 degree furnace

Next, the vessel is  put into a kiln and reduced in temperature over a 12 hour period. This is referred to as the annealing process. Certain pieces are then "cold-worked," or ground, shaped and faceted depending on aesthetic objectives.

Purple Glass Ball Ornament / Teal Glass Ball Ornament

Completed works are displayed in the Kingston Glass Studio storefront which is open to the public 7 days a week. In addition, both Mariel and Alexi's glass work can be found in private and public collections, including the Musée Des Beaux – Arts de Montréal.

However, if you can't make it to Ontario just yet, you can view their artistic creations at the Museum Shop online: