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Woman sees window of opportunity, opens glass fusing studio

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Cathy Dobson

A neat line of window hangings, already fired in the kiln and ready for pick up, decorate the workbenches at Justine Goulet’s fused glass studio.

They are the dazzling result of Goulet’s first children’s class last week, aged 10 to 15 years, who had little or no previous experience with glass fusion.

“I was really impressed by the quality of their work,” said Goulet, 27, who has been making her own glass creations the past three years.

A graduate of North Lambton Secondary, she earned a degree in theatre production followed by a Masters in the Philosophy of Theatre Production Performances at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.

Along the way, Goulet worked at such cool places as Canada’s National Ballet School, the Blyth Festival and Huron County Play House.

Then she found a job at Bonnie Doone Glass in Forest.

It was a big change in direction, she admits. But none of her creative training has gone to waste.

“Bonnie Doone was where I met my mentors and they taught me how to use the tools and kiln for fused glass,” said Goulet.

But she soon craved the freedom to do more custom work beyond the mass production required at Bonnie Doone.

“So I left and opened my own studio,” she said, gesturing around her creative space at 3811 Lakeshore Rd., across from Sawmill Creek Golf Resort.

Goulet has opened a boutique in the front of her studio where she sells glass giftware, such as decorative serving bowls that sell for $65 – $85.  At the other end of the price spectrum, glass earrings cost $12 a pair.

The boutique also carries pottery, jewelry, soaps and more made by about 20 other Ontario makers.

She calls it Lake Life Studio, inspired by cottage life.  “I attract tons of cottagers who stop on their way to Grand Bend,” she said.

Shortly after opening the boutique, she began teaching adults.  A big expansion of space last month opened the door for 1.5-hour kids classes, which are offered every Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. throughout August. For $45 plus HST, participants learn how to make their own fused glass window hangings.

Adult workshops are held Tuesdays and Thursdays and are proving so popular that Goulet is now booking into November.  For $65 – $75, depending on the project, parties of four to eight people can book a class and BYOB.  It’s fun, creative and each participant makes a cheeseboard, a hanger or a curved platter.

“The concept of fused glass is simple,” said Goulet.  Glass pieces are placed in a pattern and fused in a kiln. “Everyone comes up with a concept and I’m there to help.”

Goulet specializes in custom-made home products including fused glass designs for cabinet doors ($110 – $380 each); fused glass sinks ($300- $550 each) and custom backsplashes that can incorporate company logos and names.

“This is functional art that can really class up the room,” she said.  “And I love to design and make it.”

Lake Life Studio on Lakeshore Road in Camlachie can be reached by calling 519-328-2217.  For more details, visit www.lakelifestudio.com.

Got an interesting business story?  Contact Cathy Dobson at [email protected] or call 226-932-0985.

 

 

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