Nestled behind Cottle’s Lumber in West Tisbury, you’ll find a working farm and a hidden gem, Lambert’s Cove Glass, which a friend of mine, Russell Carson, has been working at during the off-season. The more we talked about it, the more I wanted to know about it. So, I was happy to have the opportunity to write about this special place especially since I think a lot of people don’t know about it…yet.
As we drove past the idyllic farm scenery of Blackwater Farm, we came to a small building with the sign for Lambert’s Cove Glass. The building is right next to the home of the creator, Alan Cottle. It is a bright space that welcomes you with whimsical glass pieces as soon as you enter. Throughout the space, you get to see all that goes into glassblowing, including the various sizes and colors of ground glass, the shaping tools specific to the craft, and of course the furnace and glory hole, used to reheat the glass so it can be manipulated.
Inspired By Nature
What started out as hobby for Alan, and he has many, including furniture making and painting, has turned into something more. Last Fall, he partnered with Russell who has been working in glass for a number of years, to work on expanding his collection. Through their collaboration, they have made some truly unique and beautiful pieces.
I would describe many of Alan’s designs as whimsical. He enjoys working with bold colors and has a a fondness for flowers, which you’ll find in a number of pieces. Creating one of their signature pieces, a vase with a flower and stem wrapped around it, is an arduous process. It requires the attention of two skilled glass blowers working with the different pieces in unison, when they are “hot.” The end result is a piece of art where the beauty and detail of the flowers created can rival Mother Nature’s own.
Functional Can Be Fun
Alan also likes to make the basics interesting. You’ll find a collection of glassware with playful color combinations, like teal and yellow which I really like, and make me think they’d work great for gin & tonics. There are pieces made with speckled glass, and the beverage pitchers make you think of lemonade on a long for summer day, and relaxing outside with friends. It’s funny the thoughts a piece of art can evoke.
In Love With A Lobster Buoy
Keeping on with playful glass pieces, my favorite signature piece of Lambert’s Cove Glass is their Lobster Buoy vase. It’s so simple in it’s design, but yet such a great representation of Martha’s Vineyard and its love of fishing and lobstering, both past and present. We see buoys hanging off boats and lobster traps all over the island, clusters of them in Menemsha, and even as road markers as you drive up island, but you’ve never seen them like this. The glassblown version is fantastic. I love the clean lines and the different color combinations. It’s modern and classic at the same time.
No Two Pieces Will Ever Be Alike
In both their structured pieces and their functional pieces, Lambert’s Cove glass strives to capture the essence of an object in its true form. They don’t strive for hard lines and symmetry but rather let the piece of glass have its own personality, its own soul. No two pieces are alike, nor need they be. It is about the process and the creation of something unique and beautiful, and personal too.
The art of glassblowing is a labor of love with an attention to detail and a level of patience that many other art forms do not require. However, as with other mediums, a piece of the artist goes into each creation. Once you get to know the artist, you can see which pieces are his and which were made by another.
Heading to Menemsha
This Summer, date to be determined, Alan is opening a store in Menemsha, next to The Copperworks, which is owned by Scott McDowell. What a great location for featuring these unique, hand crafted pieces of art. I can imagine that a number of their pieces, including the lobster buoy vase, are going to become a highlight for many Summer visitors and Islanders who are looking to capture some of the personality of Martha’s Vineyard.
Until the store is open, Lambert’s Cove Glass is open to having visitors, but it does not have any committed hours for stopping by. Your best bet is to give a call first to set something up, 508-563-0006. You’ll find the gallery at Blackwater Farm, 40 Cottle Lane, West Tisbury (behind Cottle’s Lumber). It was an amazing experience to learn about the process of glassblowing and about what they do as glassblowers, and their passion for creating beautful, perfectly imperfect pieces of art.
Thank you for reading On Point. Let me know if you’ve gotten to enjoy any of the seasonal openings that are underway. Also, please remember to “Like” us on Facebook and “follow” us on Twitter. I welcome any suggestions for blog topics.