In 1969, Buzz Williams founded the Alder House Glassblowing Studio on Schooner Creek. After being open for only eight days, it tragically burned down. After the fire, Williams decided he would not build another studio unless it was on his own land. The second studio resided in a geodesic dome on Williams’ property for approximately 25 years before moving to its current workspace.
The name, “Alder House,” originates from the white bark of the alder trees that were found on the property when the geodesic dome was being built. The space that the Alder House resides in now is the third iteration of this glassblowing studio, with much more room than the geodesic dome and better ventilation for a more comfortable and stable temperature for its guests.
It’s a bit off the beaten path, located at 611 S Immonen Road just north and then east of Salishan Resort, but the Alder House is something of a hidden treasure for those who take the time to stop by. The studio has an open-concept, where the furnaces and oven — all over 1,000 degrees — are on full display. The oven, where the glass art pieces are placed after they are done being molded, is where the glass pieces begin to take on their final form, often dramatically transforming colors and molding from what the glass looked like before placed in the oven.
The coast is the perfect climate for glassblowing, keeping an even-keeled coolness that illuminates the property and allows the glass to set. And people can see that magic for themselves; the Alder House sets itself apart by doing glassblowing demonstrations every single day, explaining everything they do, step-by-step, to audience members.
The Alder House remains open for business from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week, from the beginning of May to the end of October.
According to the Alder House’s website — www.alderhouse.com — “We are being careful with the way we do things to keep our visitors safe. We hope you have the time to stop by and watch our professional artists in action. While Alder House is not a ‘blow-your-own’ studio, we offer our visitors a unique, front-row glassblowing experience — not behind a glass or wall, but right in the heat of it all.” People are offered the opportunity to ask the artist all the questions they have about the craft, and science, of glassblowing.
The Alder House also has a wide selection of beautiful finished work at reasonable prices — and there is no admission fee to visit, so people are encouraged to stop by and say hello.
In addition to the website, people can find information on Facebook at “Alder House III,” or by calling 541-996-2483.