A Peek At The Process: Mazama Glassware

Process is the soul of what we do. From the origin of the coffee beans we load into our hopper each morning to the source of the ingredients we use to prepare dinner at the end of a long day: at Mazama Wares, we’re keenly passionate about the details and the love of the craft. That’s an inherent focus in every facet of our operation, not only as a business but as people too. From the ground up, as designers and makers, we appreciate the intricate and oft-overlooked beauty in the act of making itself.

When we set out to create our own glassware in early in 2016, we simply wished to amplify the design language and nuance of artisanal craft found in our own ceramic vessels. And since we’re not glass experts ourselves, we knew it was integral to the end product that we find someone with the same attention to detail and level of care that we try to throw (literally) into every one of our own ceramics. With Gary, we found all of the above: a relentlessly talented master of his domain. 

It’s something akin to magic they say, the art of blowing glass. Practiced by a select few for thousands of years, glassblowing is a century-old technique where molten glass is manipulated, molded, sculpted and shaped into various forms both functionally sound and aesthetically distinct. Created in large part with the aid of furnaces of varying temperatures, an astoundingly simple set of tools, a trained set of hands (and confident lungs too), each vessel is meticulously given life with the utmost precision.

Nestled in our own backyard, just a few miles north of Portland, Gary and his small team work day in and day out perfecting their process. Utilizing a mold-blowing technique, an alternative to the more often artistically applied process found in free-form glass blowing, each vessel is created seemingly out of thin air from a rudimentary orb of molten glass. Once prepared, color is applied and carefully heated to a specific temperature at which point, Gary and an assistant craftsperson transfer the orb (or glass bubble) into a wooden mold using a blowpipe and air to inflate and shape the glass to it’s container. This process closely resembles something similar to industrial injection molding - if that process were somehow transformed into an artistic endeavor - but simply put, it’s awe-inspiring to witness in person and altogether, a bit mysterious to comprehend as actual reality. In essence, it is here Gary literally breathes life into each vessel.

Free from the mold, each glass is carefully branded, one by one, and allowed to cool to room temperature over 24 hours. When each cocktail, pint and wine glass has finally cooled, they’re closely inspected to ensure that each passes our exacting standards for quality and consistency. It’s here that we check to see that the color, balance, weight and thickness of each glass is precisely where it’s supposed to be before being shipped off to one of our flagship stores or packed into an order and sent to your doorstep.

We take great pride in what we do and If we can’t do it ourselves, we’ll search high and low to find someone that can. That is the promise of quality, love and care that goes into every single one of our products and we think you’ll find it’s true with each and every sip. Remember: there’s a story and process behind everything in life, it’s all just a matter of perspective.

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