TR Robertson –What began as a family vacation to Italy in 2013, generated an idea and a love for a certain art form and has grown into the newest gallery, gift shop and art studio in North County. Mary Devlin, husband Gary Raskin and son Drew Raskin landed in Venice, Italy, in 2013, and decided to travel across the harbor to the island of Murano, Italy, to tour the world-famous glassblowing and glassware studios and gift shops. What they witnessed would change the family forever. Watching the master glassblower artists on the island and the beauty of the glassware they designed and the passion they displayed would lead each of the family members to change the direction they wanted their artistic life to travel.
The result, eight years later, is the collaboration and creation of Barrio Glassworks, a glass blowing teaching art studio complete with a gift shop filled with amazing, colorful, and unique designs made by not only Mary, Gary, and Drew, but also numerous local and visiting glassblowers.
The heart of Barrio Glassworks is the glassblowing studio where the family has installed several large furnaces, repeating ovens and kilns that reach temperatures of between 2,150 and 2,300 degrees. The large space allows the glassblowers room to take the molten glass and shape it into beautiful artistic glassware. Just outside of the art studio is a section of seats where passer byes can stop and watch the artists work.
Just down a short hallway, also built with Plexiglas viewing areas, leads to the gift shop where glassblowers’ artists work is on display and for sale. The gift shop and studio were designed by Gary Raskin and built-in collaboration with the family. An amazing display of beautiful glassware is on sale featuring a variety of vases, glasses, and unique, artistic pieces. The new portions of the building were the former drive thru area of the Bank of America and part of the art studio was also once a skate shop. The result is a 2,800 square foot building, unique to the North County art scene, with a large mural of a young woman glassblowing, painted by Suzanne Head, on the side of the building.
Mary Devlin, once a practicing lawyer in Los Angeles, and husband Gary, former owner of Colors by Design greeting card and stationary publishing company, did not find the glassblowing facilities in Los Angeles quite what they wanted in learning more about the glassblowing art form. Instead, they would fly to Seattle, Washington, on weekends with son Drew. Seattle has a large glass blowing community with numerous artists. Drew was able to expand his love of glass blowing and would eventually study at California College of the Arts in Oakland, Pilchuck Glass School, Penland School of Craft, The Museum of Glass in Corning, New York, and many studios in Seattle. Mary and Gary decided retirement was not in their vocabulary and once the site on Roosevelt Street in Carlsbad became available, they would take their dream to the next level with the design, layout, and completion of Barrio Glassworks.
Gary said the City of Carlsbad was extremely helpful in getting Barrio Glassworks established. Mary and Gary also said the surrounding community and businesses have been supportive in welcoming their art studio to the downtown Carlsbad area. Many of the activities they have been involved in include creating a program for the Carlsbad by the Sea Senior Home, hosting field trips for the near-by Boys and Girls Club of Carlsbad, displaying various artwork pieces at business in downtown Carlsbad and featuring the work of a variety of glassblowers in special designated areas in the Barrio Glasswork gift shop. The art studio also offers group and individual lessons for a one-on-one experience in glass blowing. Experienced glassblowers can rent time in the studio.
One of the artists present in the studio was Kazuki Takizawa, a Japanese glass artist based in Los Angeles. He currently owns KT Glassworks, a hot glass studio in Los Angeles. Takizawa lives with bipolar disorder and uses glass to explore his inner reality and share an awareness and understanding of mental illness. For the next few months, his work is on display in a specially designated area of the gift shop focusing on his Minimalist and Container Series.
Barrio Glassworks is located at 3060 Roosevelt Street in Carlsbad. More information can be found at www.bariosglassworks.com or call 760-696-3288. Open Tuesday through Saturday 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday 10 am to 5 pm. Mary Devlin – Owner and Director of Programming, Gary Raskin – Studio Manager and Building Designer, Drew Raskin – Creative Director.
Mary was quoted in the “Carlsbad Magazine” as saying, “Our mission is to bring art and hot glass to the village.” Stop in for a look at beautiful glassware and be amazed as you watch the creative pieces being formed in the studio.