Shelton Glass Works

December 6, 2014 glass 006

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Gorgeous color always catches my attention, but especially on grey, wet December mornings.

My partner and I enjoyed the annual December crafts show at Trinkle Hall this morning, on the edge of William and Mary’s campus, near DoG St.  We return every December to enjoy beautiful hand crafted items.

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December 6, 2014 glass 001

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Most of the artists return year after year, but we are always excited to discover someone new.

What a treat to discover John Shelton’s gorgeous cobalt blue glass today.

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December 6, 2014 glass 005

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Every piece is painstakingly blown and finished by hand.  Light shining through this glass produces an absolutely luminous blue.  John had green glass and purple glass pieces as well, but we were particularly drawn to his blue.

The first glass artists came to Jamestown in 1608.  A group of Germans and Poles, they built a glass works with furnaces, and began production.  Their work was sent back to England,  but they didn’t survive “The Starving Time” of 1610.

A group of Italian artisans tried to revive glass making in Jamestown in 1621.  They kept production going for several years, but eventually had to abandon the business.  A reproduction  glass house stands today at the entrance to Jamestown Island, where visitors may watch artisans demonstrate how these first colonists produced hand blown glass.

Hand blown glass may be purchased in many shops around Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown.  In fact, we realized that a piece we purchased at the Craft House several years ago is one of John’s.  His signature is on its base.

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With my apologies to John for taking only one photo of him, and that with his eyes partially closed.

With my apologies to John for taking only one photo of him, and that with his eyes partially closed.

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John Shelton has run his own glass works in Williamsburg, VA, for more than 40 years.  He uses intensive, old world techniques to produce some of the most exquisite glass I’ve seen anywhere.  His pitchers, bowls, vases, glasses and decanters are each a work of art, blown into timeless designs; each a signed original.

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December 6, 2014 glass 003

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He is a true master of his craft, and is recognized in Early American Life Magazine’s Directory of Traditional American Crafts.

John is generous with his time, talking about glass with his customers at many shows throughout the year.  He will return to Trinkle Hall tomorrow for the second day of this year’s show.

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December 6, 2014 glass 004

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If you don’t make it to Williamsburg this weekend, you will find other opportunities to enjoy John’s work and perhaps purchase a piece for your own home.

We love glass, especially hand blown glass.  We display it where it may be illuminated by the sun and its color come to life.

We were so glad to meet John Shelton today.  He shared a little about how he creates all of the glass he uses in his work.  It is a very long process, and he never uses recycled glass.

As John is a local artist, and so we will look forward to seeing him, and his work, again soon.

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December 6, 2014 glass 007

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

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About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

8 responses to “Shelton Glass Works

  1. Maureen L..

    I have a cobalt blue glass basket I purchased some years ago. It is signed on the bottom “Jan Shelton”. I am wondering if she is related to John Shelton? I don’t recall where I was at the time! It could have been in Jamestown, or Williamsburg! I belong to an antiques group and it would be so interesting to all of us! Thanks!

  2. Patricia Anne Nelson

    I was first given a piece of Shelton glass because my mother in law wanted something different for my birthday. Then, we visited the shop! I have many pieces now, and each is a treasure! We had a transfer to the West Coast (military) so my daughter has gotten some online! Gotta love the internet!!

  3. I love cobalt blue glass – so beautiful! I have a couple vases from the 40’s that I treasure. John’s work is clearly well done. Imagine a lifetime devoted to the art of glass making – wow.

  4. my kind of colour !!! I think cobalt blue is the most beautiful colour there is !

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