The Adventure Begins

Today, as predicted, was a day full of all sorts of fantastic things! After discovering that someone had stepped on and effectively ruined the GPS this morning, we set off on a journey to find a bike shop and get some maps.

I had other things on my mind, though: First, there was a visit to this absolutely wonderful glass studio- G&J Glass, a shop in Sturgeon Bay owned by Jim and Gale DuFrane:

G&J Glass!

G&J Glass!

Not only is this a beautiful little shop, they do all sorts of custom work, from stained and fused glass to lampworking! They’re also starting to offer classes, which definitely makes me sad that I’m only staying for a week! You’d never be able to tear me away from this place (especially since the yarn shop is right across the street- but we’ll get there…)! Jim was kind enough to show me around his workspace, which is attached to the shop, and also let me take pictures!

a 3-torch lampworking station

a 3-torch lampworking station

The lampworking setup is an oxygen-natural gas setup, which is probably the safest and most cost effective setup- since there are no tanks to accidentally blow up, and everything’s just piped in to the stations. It’s also important to have a non-flammable work surface, especially since this place goes way beyond beads. Jim told me all about how one can actually blow small- to medium glass objects using a torch- without having to spend a whole bunch of money on an oven setup! This is great if you’re not doing anything huge- and you know me and my desire for all things to be tiny.

Coated mandrels waiting for beads, and the glass they'll eventually be made from

Coated mandrels waiting for beads, and the glass they’ll eventually be made from

There are so many beautiful colors here! I would love to take a class from this place. Did I mention that? It’s true.

Fused glass and stained glass workstation

Fused glass and stained glass workstation

 

While the lampworking area is a neat little gated off section of the front shop, the fused glass and stained glass work area is a room in the back which has three worktables and a variety of grinders, kilns, and even a sandblast cabinet! Jim kept apologizing for the mess, but I’ve always thought that a mess is the sign of a creative mind at work. Maybe that’s just the only way I can justify my own workspaces to myself, though. I think the place is brilliant- well set up, and with all the tools necessary to do what it is he does. While I was there, I bought this beautiful little blown glass acorn to remember the place, and also to add to my collection:

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Isn’t it great? It’s about the size of an actual acorn, if you’re interested. He said he wasn’t sure how he felt about the colors of this new glass he used for the body, but I think it’s great- the stripes are interesting, and the red-brown color the perfect acorn shade.

Lampwork is something I really haven’t thought about in a while, because I’m going to be moving around a lot in the next couple of years, but once I get settled in one place I’m all over this. There are so many fabulous things that are going on in the glass trade right now, it’s hard for me to believe where it’ll be in five or ten years!

After the morning’s excursion into town, we headed off to see a lighthouse:

Cana Island lighthouse, near Bailey's Harbor

Cana Island lighthouse, near Bailey’s Harbor

This is still a fully functioning beacon, but the house part of it has been turned into a little historical destination and gift shop. There are 91 steps to the top, so we decided to make the ascent:

It's all original!

It’s all original!

Apparently, the lighthouse was originally made of the same brick as the house, but the weather was too harsh to maintain it, so they built the steel enclosure around it some years later. The steel sits on its own foundation, so it’s basically one light house wrapped around another light house. The electric beacon was installed in the 1930s, and it hasn’t been changed much at all since (the bulb only needs to be changed once a year!).

HAIR!

HAIR!

Here’s my Dad and I at the top! I mostly just added this picture because I’ve never seen my hair do anything quite like that before. The wind was blowing at about 25 miles per hour, which is apparently pretty normal.

The view from up there

The view from up there

The lighthouse is still lit every evening, because it’s still pretty hazardous to run aground here- or anywhere, really. There’s a shipwreck tour that we’ll be going on in the same area in a few days, which I suppose should be a warning to all you sailors in lake Michigan- pay attention to the Cana Island lighthouse!

It's not just ships that have portals anymore!

It’s not just ships that have portals anymore!

I just really like portals- so here’s a picture of one.

 

Next up on our making-it-up-as-we-go itinerary was a very exciting looking sheep farm!

Whitefish Bay Farm: Bed and Breakfast, functioning sheep farm, and Gallery

Whitefish Bay Farm: Bed and Breakfast, functioning sheep farm, and Gallery

This place tucked away near Bailey’s Harbor as well, and the Whitefish Bay area seems like a beautiful place to raise sheep. Whitefish Bay farm has a flock of about 130 Corriedales, which you can meet up close and personally when you stay at the bed and breakfast- or not, I guess- but why would you not?! They also do a bunch of handspinning, dyeing fleece using only natural dyes, and and (obviously, from the picture) weaving. I bought some pretty awesome dark brown fleece from their sheep, that was spun at a fiber processing mill also located in Wisconsin. I’ve spun with Corriedale before, and I must say I wasn’t too terribly fond of the yarn that resulted- it seemed scratchy and unyielding- but this yarn, from these sheep, is so much softer than that! I’m really looking forward to making myself something lovely with that yarn. Their natural colors and also roving and fleeces are available for sale on their website, which I’ve linked already. The ladies were off grazing in a field that was too far away for us to walk to, but here are the boys, hiding under a tree for shade:

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And of course, what better way to tell the direction of the wind on a sheep farm, than with a sheepy weathervane!

this sheep points south!

this sheep points south!

I really think I’ll need one of those, along with a glass studio, when I get my own place.

Remember how I was telling you about the barn quilts? Apparently, there was an actual organized effort here in Door County to outfit a plethora (I think around 50- and this place is not that big) of barns with their very own hand painted quilts. There’s a brochure with a map of the locations, that I am now in possession of! The only one I saw today that resulted in any good pictures was this beautiful crazy quilt block:

That's my kind of barn, my kind of quilt block, and probably, if I met them, my kind of people!

That’s my kind of barn, my kind of quilt block, and probably, if I met them, my kind of people!

There’s even painted stitching on some of the pieces! I’ll take pictures of more as I can, but really this is such a cool thing that they’ve done- adding color to the countryside and preserving quilt heritage to boot! I do so love crazy quilts, too. I think I might have just talked myself into making one just now, too.

I debated whether to share this last bit now, or wait until Thursday- but I guess I’ll give you  a little sneak preview of what’s to come:

Spin! Company yarn shop, in Sturgeon Bay

Spin! Company yarn shop, in Sturgeon Bay

This is the view outside the Spin! Company yarn shop, which is across the street from G&J Glassworks. I didn’t take pictures inside, but I will when I go back on Thursday, if the shop’s owner permits it. The place is so awesome- it’s in what used to be a bank, and the vault is still intact inside- there’s glass on the back of the door so you can see the mechanisms, and yes- there is yarn in the vault. It’s also got a high, high tin ceiling, and a lot of other amazing architectural features. But you’re probably wondering about that rainbow fish I’m so happy to be standing by. It’s a Sturgeon! Sturgeon Bay is filled with them- they’re on the sidewalks in front of a lot of the shops, and each one is decorated in a way that means something to the shop- plus they’re named. This one is called Roy G. Biv, and he’s crochet! He was also pretty much the first thing I saw the first time we drove through Sturgeon Bay. The exchange went pretty much like this:

“Is that a knitted [I turned out to be wrong on that assumption] fish? In a sweater?”

“No! It’s a cozy made for a fish!”

“IT’S A FISH COZY”

Someone- I think it was Simon Pegg- says that ‘being a nerd means never having to play it cool about how much you like something.”

Well, lords and ladies, I am a nerd. My somethings include, but are not limited to, lampworking, Door County Wisconsin, and fish cozies.

Red sky at night, that's good- right?

Red sky at night, that’s good- right?

Today was wonderful. I can’t imagine what’s in store for tomorrow.

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One thought on “The Adventure Begins

  1. Jim says:

    Thank you for the kind words about my studio G&J Glassworks. I hope you do come and take a class some time it will be a whole new addiction for you.

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