Minnesota glassblowers draw on traditional techniques to craft hand-blown accents that blur the line between everyday object and modern art.
Artists Jackson Schwartz and Joe Limpert met at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, where Schwartz was an instructor and Limpert was a student studying ceramics. Limpert made the transition to glassblowing after joining Schwartz' class, and soon after an apprenticeship was formed. After outgrowing their rented studio space, they forged a more formal partnership and Hennepin Made opened its doors.
Inspired by Minneapolis' rich manufacturing traditions, the pair creates modern art that embodies the same history and work ethic. "We're trying to capture the identity of a place in what we make there," Schwartz explains. "We really wanted to incorporate that sense of history into our name."
The duo’s transition from fine art to product design was a natural one. The same simplicity of form, subtle variations in texture and modern aesthetic that characterized their earlier work is evident in pieces like our Hennepin Made pendants. Jackson says, "It's a perfect balance between small scale manufacturing and the craft of glassblowing."
Every product is crafted exclusively in Hennepin Made's Minneapolis studio, where centuries-old glassblowing techniques are reinterpreted to produce modern products. Glass batch—a blend of silica sand and other materials—is carefully melted and hand blown until the desired shape and texture is achieved.
Jackson and Joe designed their business around the same apprenticeship model Hennepin Made was founded on. New artists are mentored to become integral members of the team—a process that not only improves the company dynamic, but the product itself. "The pieces come out a lot nicer," Jackson says. "It's really a product of the relationships and your environment."