Transparent, light catching works of art emerge from the hands of our skilled glass artists seven days a week from 12 – 4 p.m. 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.
With his background in engineering, Duane Dunn designed and constructed the glass furnaces used at Terra Studios today. These new furnaces dropped gas consumption by over 60% and also help to heat the gallery building. Duane also helps solve many puzzles and problems, and is working with us to expand our sustainability and create an even greener Terra Studios. Duane has been with Terra Studios since 1987 and is our most senior staff member (though not the oldest).
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.
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!
Grace & Gratitude© are the newest creation at Terra Studios. Sales of these lovely angels in pink and blue glass benefit seven local children’s charities and continue our tradition of community involvement and the use of art to truly bring joy to the world.
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.