Priest's Mill Glassworks
Glassblowing is all Sizzle
By: Andrew Reed
Saturday and Sunday
2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Located in a 114-year-old mill in Alexandria, Ont., Priest’s Mill Glassworks provides a home for aspiring glassblowers to hone their craft.
Eric Covington, a retired IT professional, is applying his expertise in engineering to his passion for glass blowing.
Retiring in 2004, Covington travelled across Canada and discovered rock carving; it was in 2008 that he would learn glassblowing.
“20 minutes into my first class and I was hooked,” Covington said.
After bouncing around from studio to studio, Covington decided to build his own. That’s when he found Priest’s Mill.
With his knowledge in engineering, he built the machinery in the studio used to make the glass artwork.
“I’m proud of the equipment I’ve built. It’s almost as fun as making the actual glass,” he said.
But Covington explains it’s the glassblowing that gives him the real adrenaline rush.
Pieces can take anywhere between six minutes to a few hours to make but things don’t always go according to plan.
“You have a 2000 degree piece of glass and you only have one shot at turning it into what you imagine,” Covington said. “But glassblowing requires a lot of improvisation.”
The expansion of the local glassblowing community has also allowed him to continue learning and improving his skills.
Just recently, Priest’s Mill Glassworks welcomed Tatsumi Komiya, an immigrant from Japan who moved here to practice glassblowing full time.
While Priest’s Mill Glassblowing expands with new artists using the facility, a not-for-profit gallery located inside the mill, Priest’s Mill Arts Centre, also opened with the purpose of showcasing the work done by artists at the Mill and in the community.
Priest’s Mill Glassblowing also offers glassblowing classes for admirers of the work that is done by professional and amateur glassblowers.