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Eugene Weekly : Gift Guide : 11.23.11

Eugene Weekly's 2011 Gift Guide

Liquid Christmas, in style

Glasswork gifts by Obsidian Manufacturing

Local glass blower Brent Turner sticks to architectural glasswork for most of the year. Come winter, though, the holiday season demands his custom fabrications, and he’s more than happy to oblige. The dude is a master craftsman; using a custom order system, he’s able to make you pretty much anything you want in an array of different colors: Be it pint glasses, wine glasses, shot glasses or Christmas ornaments.

“In a lot of ways it’s much easier to do a custom job than, you know, a production line,” says Turner. “With a production based product line you’ve got six months where any item you make is unique. If you sell locally, you’ve got six months before someone figures out how to make it, and then your stuff’s gonna get bootlegged.”

It’s refreshing to find a glassworker in Lane County that doesn’t spend all of his talent on paraphernalia, and it’s not like Turner doesn’t have the skills to make some awesome pipes — he just chooses a classier route.

Take, for example, his beautiful hanging ornaments. With all their curlicues and drippy stem work, it’s tough to imagine them looking anything but excellent on a tree. Prices range between $8-$25 for a variety of shapes and sizes, colors and weights. The $16 black-and-white ornament (pictured), for example, weighs more than your average shtick-y icicle ornament, and might even be better suited as a porch ornament.

“The glass we use is designed for scientific application,” Turner says. “It’s stable up to 550 degrees and has a solid, steady range so that it won’t thermal shock. I started making my own pint glasses when they kept breaking between the dishwasher and the icebox, and this is a whole lot sturdier.”

If you’re looking for something to pour your winter ales and hearty stouts into this year, look no further: Turner’s pint glasses are awesome — that’s all there is to it. They’re shaped in a pretty standard way but are adorned with little details that make them distinct. Pint glasses range from $25-$40 and, as explained, are far more difficult to break with severe temperature changes than your average piece. That’s right: you can go from the fireside straight out into the snow and your glass won’t shatter. Just don’t drop it and you’ll be fine.

Of course some people like to curl up with a glass of wine, brandy or sherry during the holidays, and Turner’s stemware is more than suitable for such occasions. His wine glasses are weighted beautifully, and they’re thin enough to have an attractively clinky, crystal tone without being overly breakable. With prices ranging from $20-$80, this isn’t the type of stemware you just throw into any old cupboard; so toast carefully, drink responsibly and enjoy the beautiful patterns that Turner bedecks his work with.

“Every now and again we’ll get somebody out there who wants a real goulash of stuff,” Turner says. “That’s what makes it fun.” 

For more information, call Obsidian MFG at 541-653-6316

 

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Glasswork gifts by Obsidian Manufacturing