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Artisans use glass as their medium in new studio in Victoria

by Carol Little

Victoria’s Glass co-owner Sabine Neusch with son Benjamin in the shop.Victoria’s Glass Studio is only a couple of months old, but Sabine Neusch and Kate Poole have big plans for it. Located at 24 Bardin Street in the village of Victoria By The Sea, the new shop is the only store of its kind in Prince Edward Island. Unlike many of the shops in Victoria, the glass studio is open year round, partly due to the post office that is also located in the store.

The studio is a combination storefront selling mostly Island made arts, crafts and glass with workshop space in the back. Walking into the store, there is an immediate sense of creativity due to the eye-catching fish mosaic by Neusch’s daughter that is in progress on the front step. The store sells unique jewelry, glass beads, painted tiles, dishes, pottery, cards and both functional and artistic glass pieces.

An eclectic artist, Neusch studied jewelry making and art in Europe and has taken courses in photography. Neusch started out as a jeweler and then moved into woodworking before specializing in glass. Born in Switzerland, she said that when she moved to Prince Edward Island in the 1980’s that she instantly fell in “love with the island colours and lighting,” adding that “Victoria is beautiful, I hope they turn it into a historic village.”

Poole has been working with glass and sandblasting for twenty years. Neusch stated, “we are both craftspeople with very high standards of quality [who] read, learn and explore different things.”

When asked what draws her to glass as an artistic medium, Neusch responded without hesitation, “the colours and light” and quickly added, “it’s a whole different dimension than wood; glass has so many possibilities. Glass gives a very quick response to what you’ve been working on [compared to wood], and wood is not as forgiving.” She does not work exclusively with glass though, Neusch likes to combine materials, “to me, everything is a canvas or a way to be creative.”

Neusch said emphatically, “I believe everybody can be creative, that’s what it’s all about, getting people inspired and [seeing their] creations. I hope we fill a niche and help people to be creative.”

Victoria’s Glass Studio is offering classes in painting (with artist Karl MacKeeman), stained glass, sandblasting, fused glass and mirror mosaic this fall that can accommodate up to eight people per session and would like to offer courses such as drawing and photo sandblasting in the future. Neusch said that she “would like to open the studio once a week for people to come in and work on their own projects” with the tools and equipment available, and adds that “now that Holland College isn’t teaching glass, there is a need for it.” In addition, she has already had artists from Boston, Toronto and British Columbia contact her, offering to teach workshops above the beginner level in the future. Stating that there is room for expansion, Neusch and Poole’s ambitious plans include new kilns and the addition of a section devoted to selling glass and supplies to local artists.

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