Glass, glass, and more glass. This is what fills the front room at Russel and Adele Lewis’ a touch of glass studio in Idaho Falls. It’s located right on Cliffside lane on a hill.
From recycled bottles to ornaments to even home interior, the touch of glass studio can do just about anything.
“It’s made with a lot of heart. It’s unique art. It’s something you never see,” said Adele Lewis, assistant glass blower at A Touch of Glass Studio.
“We’re, we’re so unique, there’s just nobody else around that does it,” said Russel Lewis, lead glass blower at A Touch of Glass Studio.
Adele and Russel have made this glass studio their own husband and wife business. It’s been around since 1991, 1992, but they have been in this current location for about 5 years. It looks like a house from the outside and that’s because it is. They conveniently built their studio adjacent to their own home.
But inside their shop, are delicate and intricate pieces of all kinds. Tools are in the back as you can see a real workshop and look at some of the work being done.
Their glass ventures first started out as a hobby rather than a business. What’s most impressive is that their work was all self taught before they began. Adele explained how she had a fascination with glass. Russel decided then to pick it in his spare time back when he was a pipe fitter and taught Adele how to do it. Now, he creates all sorts of beautiful pieces along with his wife.
“I’ve been doing it not near as long as him, probably about fifteen years for myself and he’s been doing it for twenty-five,” said Adele.
This is the process of glass blowing an ornament. What Russel does first is light the torch and uses Pyrex glass, which is durable for just about anything. He heats and stretches it out, cracks the end of, and then pours some frit into it, which is crushed pieces of colored glass.
“And then I’ll roll it and start to get some heat in it and it will start to collect those little pieces of frit,” said Russel.
You can see that he has a blow hose in his mouth that is hooked to the glass tube in order to blow the shape. After that, it’s a matter of heating, rolling, and blowing it into the round shape it needs in order to be an ornament.
“You know it’s, the nice thing about it is it’s something that we thoroughly enjoy doing,” said Russel.
The ornament is then placed in an oven overnight in one thousand and fifty degrees Fahrenheit where it gets a fiery orange glow to it. It’s then taken out the next day for its finishing touches.
They also do sandblasting, engravings and slumped and fused glass work. And what about starting your own business like this one?
“A lot of hands on, self-taught, burnt fingers, lots of practice and trial and error,” said Adele.
“You have to put it, you have to want it pretty bad to you know, stick it out and turn it into a business because it’s a lot of work and a lot of frustration and you know, figuring things out,” said Russel.
But that paid off for Adele and Russel as they have made 250 Christmas ornaments for the state Capitol in Boise. They even have gone to local art shows and as far as Jackson Hole, Wyoming and continue to climb in their business.
They have two-dollar ornaments and prices ranging to one thousand dollars for larger pieces that they do. And the designs and themes for their glass are limitless. Coasters, Christmas, pieces of pizza, you name it. What’s Russel’s favorite pieces to make?
“I love doing wildlife art, you know, I like doing trout and elk and you know they in this country, they sell well,” said Russel.
And it’s seen throughout the shop. Each part of glass in the studio shows a bit of Adele and Russel’s personality, which makes the art so likeable.
“There’s just not that many of us left anymore,” said Russel.