NH Glass Company Guadalupe Glass

Why would New Hampshire glass artists have a company name of Guadalupe Glass? The story starts around 1969 back in Sante Fe, where Peter VanderLaan and eventually his wife, Mary Beth Bliss, built a reputation blowing and casting glass with a hallmark of purity of color. "We have a love affair with color," says Peter.

The couple was drawn back to Chocorua where Mary Beth had spent her teenage years and her parents had once farmed trees. Three years later they have mended the fences and built a new studio from hemlock trees milled on the property and are back to glass. Mary Beth says, "We just missed the roar of the glassworks - it is like a heartbeat. Now, we feel home again."

Peter creates larger blown pieces with colorful designs laminated between layers of clear glass while Mary Beth builds magical worlds from the inside out with slices of optical glass cut with a diamond saw. The laminations build until the piece is finished - a simple shape on the outside but visually imploded. The design is inside and shifts with your viewpoint, refracting light and shooting beams of color around the room.

Peter, who has worked with famed glass artist Dale Chihuly and has work in the Corning Museum of Glass, builds his own equipment and creates his own glass, starting with silica, pot ash and lime plus colorants of his own formulation. He is really a glass chemist, too, and sells glass and equipment to the trade.

Mary Beth is currently making fused glass jewelry and finding that the "New England landscape is working its inspirational magic."

The couple are happy to have found the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen and a local audience for their work. Their blown work and jewelry can be found at League shops in Concord, Meredith, North Conway, Nashua and Littleton. Prices range from $25 for earrings to $8,500 for optical laminations. Blown vessels and bowls range from $85 to $500.

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