– Transparent, light catching works of art emerge from the hands of our skilled glass artists seven days a week from 12 – 4 p.m through the end of 2019. You can watch for minutes or hours as our amazing artisans shape molten glass into our iconic Bluebirds of Happiness and Pink Birds of Hope. A red-hot “gather” emerges from the intense heat of Terra Studios’ glass furnaces and is shaped before your eyes into a fabulous light-catching keepsake to cherish forever.
The world famous Bluebird of Happiness® has been produced at Terra Studios in Northwest Arkansas for 37 years. However, in light of the climate emergency we all face and our responsibility to our children, grandchildren and to Life itself, Terra Studios will in January 2020 suspend creation of the Bluebirds of Happiness®. Terra Studios will continue to be a wonderful, creative and unique place, and hopes you will join in the adventure of “using art to create a better world.”
“Please know we are not making this decision lightly. After careful thought, consideration and countless conversations, and understanding the full financial ramifications, we believe taking action is our only option. The future is at stake!” – James Ulick, founder and board president
“Glass blowing involves burning a lot of natural gas and electricity thereby producing a tremendous amount of greenhouse gasses that seriously threaten this marvelous earth we all share,” continued Ulick, “Therefore, Bluebird of Happiness® and all hot glass demonstrations will be suspended until the technology becomes available to create the Bluebirds without damaging our natural environment. Solutions already exist, yet we must join together and urgently implement the changes necessary to cope with the global climate emergency. We hope the Bluebird of Happiness® can continue its legacy in years to come.”
The Glass Artists at Terra Studios
Gary Carter first began working in glass at Terra Studios in 1994, and glass art became his passion. In 2008, Gary was chosen to create the original works for awards for the Arkansas’ Governor’s Art Award recipients. Gary is also responsible for pieces such as the Dragon’s Eggs, Blue Bubbles, Imaginaireums, dishware and other unique creations found in the gallery.
Micah Welsh is a fledgling “bird maker,” who can most often be found inspecting the glass art (because you can learn a lot that way,) or in the gallery helping our guests.
Duane Dunn (Aug 9, 1958 – Jun 15, 2019) It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our good friend and coworker and the maker of more than a million Bluebirds of Happiness, Duane Dunn. Duane worked at Terra Studios from 1987 to 2019, and knew all about everything. Really. He built the glass furnaces, kept our ancient forklift running, and mended most any equipment that needed fixing. While making Bluebirds, he would often ponder creative ways to solve problems or challenges. Duane had a wry sense of humor, a multitude of great stories and a wealth of knowledge and insight. He loved dogs and his family and was a loyal friend. He leaves us with wonderful memories and a tall, lanky hole in our hearts.
About the Birds:
The original Bluebird of Happiness® was created by Master Glass Craftsman, Leo Ward in 1980. The beautiful and beloved Bluebird, belongs to the thrush family, and makes its home primarily in North America, although the Eastern Bluebird can also be found in Bermuda. Early settlers found its plump form and striking color captivating, and this beautiful creature has become a symbol of love, joy, and the welcome return of springtime. Because of the traditional association with happiness, The Bluebird is an ideal way to commemorate our most joyful occasions – marriage, anniversaries, births, graduations and engagements.
To date, over 8 million bluebirds have been sold worldwide; many have been given as gifts to dignitaries and celebrities including former Russian President Gorbachev and former President Clinton, several Arkansas governors and numerous senators and representatives.
The Pink Bird of Hope® is a fabulous collaboration between Terra Studios and the Ozark Affiliate of The Susan G. Komen Foundation. Our work together ensures that 10% of all Pink Bird sales are donated to help find the cure!
About the furnaces and lehr:
The glass furnaces used at Terra are fired by natural gas and are a continuous-feed, two-chambered design. The raw glass melts in the side chamber at about 2200-2300 degrees Fahrenheit, while the front or “working” chamber is usually run at 1900-2000 degrees. Finished pieces are placed into a third oven, called an annealing oven (or lehr) at about 900 degrees F and cooled gradually over a period of about 24-48 hours. This keeps the glass from becoming unstable or brittle.
About the glass:
The raw glass mix, or “batch,” is composed of pure silica sand, soda ash, dolomitic limestone and several other minor ingredients.
About the colors:
The colors in the glass are achieved by adding metal oxides in small amounts to the batch as it is being mixed. We only run one batch (one color) at a time. Black copper oxide is used for the blue and erbium for the pink. Terra is committed to the health and safety of our glass artists and we use the safest possible pigments.