I (Buzz) started the AlderHouse some 45 years ago after graduating from Portland State U. with a degree in painting and drawing.While at PSU, I took a one week workshop in glass- blowing and was hooked. The painting and drawing degree was put aside for the fascinating world of blown -glass.The workshop that I had taken had hooked me and for the better part of my adult life has kept me happy and looking forward to the workday. “I never have Mondays”
I moved to the coast in 1968 and built the first Alder House the next year. This was an A-frame which we built from logs that we had taken from the beach. We sawed the lumber for it from this wood and split cedar shakes to cover the entire thing. It hung out over Drift Creek, had a dirt floor and a very crude furnace and annealing oven. We blew glass until late in the year and then closed for the winter. But it was a start and was soon discovered by the media and we were on our way. Alas, it was short lived as it burned down the following spring after being open that year only 8 days.
In 1971 the second studio was built and opened. So on July 5th, our little geodesic dome saw the first piece of glass made at this site. This was on the property that now houses the third iteration of the Alder House and was just a bit farther to the east of the current location. We chose a geodesic dome for several reasons one of them being that one could enclose the greatest amount of space with the least amount of material. Cost was still an important factor for us. Up through 1998 we hosted a great number of visitors in this space before moving to higher ground (the dome flooded from time to time). So many fond memories of our little round workspace both for us and the folks who watched us work!!
Now we are on to AlderHouse III which opened on the 15th of March 1999 and continue to have fun doing what we like to do. As you can see in the photo of the new studio, it is no longer a dome. It is half again bigger than the 800 square feet of the dome and is as much taller. This provides better ventilation to rid the space of excess heat and therefore makes it more comfortable for the craftspeople and our guests. It also gives us a bit more room for some additional equipment allowing for greater creativity.
So there you have it. From then until now. Several people have started their glassblowing ventures at the Alderhouse and many have gone on to start studios of their own. We are all proud of what we have brought to the community and hope to continue on into the future vastly enjoying what we do and especially delighting at the looks of wonderment on the faces of both kids and adults as they watch the wonder of glassblowing.