Bavin Glassworks, since 1988!
Bavin Glassworks was founded by Pat Bavin in Windermere, BC in 1988. The Bavin family had been living in Windermere for 50 years at that point, and weren't interested in moving anywhere else!
Pat had originally started his glass obsession with stained glass in the 1970's. While on a trip to Seattle in the late 70's to pick up stained glass, he walked into a hot glass studio, know as The Glass Eye. Mesmerized by the action in the hotshop of The Glass Eye, he vowed on the spot that he would one day work with molten glass! Not long thereafter he enrolled at the newly established Pilchuck Glass School, an hour north of Seattle.
Demo day at Bavin Glassworks in Windermere during the late 1990's.
After several trips to Pilchuck, as well as workshops at Red Deer College, and the Alberta College of Art in Calgary, Pat decided he wanted to open a hot glass studio. At the time in the early 80's, he had several other businesses on the go in the sporting goods and ski industries. So he set a goal to be blowing glass in his own studio for his 40th birthday. This was a goal he achieved and Bavin Glassworks opened in a garage in downtown Windermere in the Spring of 1988.
The old hot glass studio at Bavin Glassworks.
Having been in the retail business for some time already, Pat wanted to do something different from the beginning; he wanted to create and sell his wares under one roof. This would allow him to keep his prices down for his customers, and it would allow him to have a personal relationship with the customers that bought his work. People wear also welcome to come and watch him at work with molten glass, a fascinating process that not many people had seen!
Pat and Ryan finishing a demo in Windermere circa 1997.
During that first summer Pat's son Ryan watched and was hanging around the glass shop. Over the next couple of years, Ryan would work in the shop on weekends and during the summer while not at high school. Once graduated from high school, Ryan spent more time in the shop working for his dad.
Pat and Ryan applying a wrap to a glass piece during a demo in Windermere.
Pat continued to expand his learning in glass, and in 1992 visited the Pilchuck Glass School again for a workshop with Martin Blank, one of famed Dale Chihuly's gaffers (lead glassblowers). This class would be instrumental in influencing Pat's approach to glass for many years to come. Many techniques that were new at the time to North America were showcased during this workshop.
Pat torching with Martin Blank instructing at Pilchuck, 1992.
Pat came home from Pilchuck with new ideas and new skills which he taught Ryan. The next few years saw the development of many of the popular series that Bavin Glass still produces to this day!
In 1996, Ryan would start going to Pilchuck as well, after eight years of apprenticing with his father. Ryan attended Pilchuck on a regular basis until 2003 in various capacities, including student, teaching assistant, and gaffer.
L to R; Bonnie Bavin, Pat Bavin, Bernie Evans, Ryan Bavin, and Jude Matsalla in the gallery at Bavin Glass in Windermere.
In 2001 the Bavin's moved Bavin Glassworks to it's present location on the way into Invermere from the turnoff on Highway 95. At the time there was only the airport across the road and that was it! Now we have Canadian Tire, Kicking Horse Coffee, Home Hardware, Arrowhead Brewing, No Frills and several other businesses that have sprouted up around the shop!
So there's a look at the early years of Bavin Glassworks!