Buying glass

Near the end of June Jay and I went to Passaic, NJ, to buy glass for summer usage. Glass-buying is a day trip for us a little over two hours drive each direction (more when we miss the turn for US 46) and usually three hours at the glass warehouse. While we lived in South Dakota we had to order a 500-lb crate of glass going by small samples (from 1.5″ x 3″ up to 3″ x 6″). Samples don t show the accurate color tones of a particular sheet of antique glass or the color variation within a sheet of opalescent.

Now we take our designs with us and hand pick each sheet of glass for every project. Most of the warehouse is filled with double-decked glass crates grouped by manufacturer. We set up camp at the east end of the rows of Lamberts antique glass, where there are windows. Taking one project at a time, we pull sheets and check them against the light, looking for what we want in color saturation, surface and internal dynamics, and color flow in streakies and opals. Sometimes we shift color plans when the glasses don t go together as well as the samples did in the studio, or when we discover something better.

Glass selection can be almost as adventuresome as designing. At the end of a buying trip we are physically tired (before unloading) but creatively charged. Jay is ready to get cutting and I am eager to get back to the drawing board.