Icefire Glassworks, 2023
STORY and PHOTOGRAPHS by K.B. DIXON
Glass is beautiful by its very nature. It takes little talent to make it more beautiful, but considerable talent to make it art. To make it art you need an artist; to make it exceptional you need experience. Jim Kingwell, a convivial creative (part Santa Claus, part Socrates), has been working with glass for more than 50 years. He founded Icefire Glassworks—a working studio and gallery in Cannon Beach—more than 30 years ago. There he and his partner Suzanne Kindland, fellow artist and wife, have produced a remarkable body of work. Mixing inspiration and intention with the medium’s caprice, they conjure bowls, vases, figures, and fantasies of incredible beauty.
The rustic studio (a “hot spot” with a 2,400-degree furnace at its heart) is not merely a work space—it is a gallery that has grown to represent not only the work of Kingwell and Kindland, but the work of a number of other accomplished artisans. It is also a center for education. The public is invited to sit in on the creation of new work and to watch the artists transform an idea and a glowing molten blob into a stunning, tangible, translucent reality—a quasi-serendipitous gift from the gods of fluid dynamics and chaotic indeterminacy.