Perfectly Imperfect Artisan Glassware

Simon Pearce's Glass Shop
Photography by Jim Bathie

Text by Hannah Jones

Though Simon Pearce’s father grew up in a time of roaring machinery, he never hopped on the bandwagon of quick and easy. He believed in time-honored practices of handcrafting his pottery, and when Simon joined his father at age 16, he adopted those same beliefs. “The human hand creates perfect imperfections,” Simon now preaches.

Glassmaking mill
Photography by Jim Bathie

Simon carried those values through the early days of his glassmaking career. Starting out apprenticing under his father, he then worked under prestigious glassmakers around the UK before settling into the rustically grand mill where he currently resides in Quechee, Vermont. “The first time we saw the mill was in 1980,” Simon recalls. “It was absolutely everything I’d dreamed of.”

Though a stunning appearance is a key element in their design, the artisans at Simon Pearce make it a goal to harmoniously blend both beauty and function when creating new pieces.

wine glasses
Photography by Jim Bathie
Photography by Jim Bathie

Though his wife, Pia, thought that they would never fill that much space, Simon quickly proved her wrong, housing their glassblowing studio, retail store, and hydro-electric services in different sections of the mill. The mill has also grown to house their farm-to-table restaurant and bar.

Just as quickly as he filled up the abounding space in the mill, Simon also made a name for himself in the glassblowing industry, with his pieces now found in stores throughout the country. Though you can find his gorgeous glass all over, his dedication to handcrafted quality has remained steady through the years, just as his father taught him. “The human hand can’t do anything perfectly, and that’s the beauty of it,” he says. “The slight variances and differences, it’ll always have some feeling in it.”

Photography by Jim Bathie

All his creations are blown and handcrafted in the same studio that Simon has worked in since 1980, using the same methods that he learned from his father and other esteemed mentors. Human hands mold the glass from beginning to end, creating gorgeous barware, stemware, serveware, and décor. “The moment you take the glass out of the furnace, you can’t take your eyes off it for a split second,” he explains. “You can’t go back and do it again. You’ve got one shot.”

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The Cottage Journal Autumn 2018 cover