A few thoughts on the closing of Spectrum Glass and what it means for Bespoke.
Spectrum Glass is winding down its production in coming weeks, and this sad news has already had a huge impact on the stained glass industry. I'll get into what's happening here at Bespoke in a moment, but first a bit of context: Part of the design ethos of Bespoke Glass is using a very limited set of colors, and I only use single-color sheets (the industry calls this "cathedral" glass). Most stained glass you'll see has several colors swirled around in the same sheet - which makes for such lovely mural-like windows, but I wanted to do something really bold and different. So: I've developed a studio pallet of cathedral sheets, all from Spectrum, which produces very clear, consistent colors in different textures. It was also affordable enough that a small studio like Bespoke could keep some amount of 25 or so colors in stock.
There are about 6 companies in North America that produce colored sheet glass. Bullseye and Uroboros, both in Portland, OR, both produce very high-end lovely hand-rolled single-color sheets, which are intended for fusing (rather than explain about coefficient of expansion testing, I'll just say this makes this glass more expensive). Uroboros (where I used to work, by the by), will be taking over production of some of Spectrum's colors as they already worked in partnership to produce chemically compatible glasses, but they'll be hand-rolled, etc. As this glass is meant for fusing, and hand-rolled, AND both of these companies are facing the same environmental issues that forced Spectrum to close, it's substantially more expensive than Spectrum. Wissmach and Kokomo both produce machine-rolled cathedrals, but they have a more rustic, seedy (bubbly), less clear glass - which isn't a bad thing, it's just a different aesthetic. No other producer makes the super-clear, machine-rolled glass that Spectrum made, and its Waterglass and Rough-Rolled textures have become integral to several Bespoke designs.
SO, at the moment, I'm working with my distributor to continue to buy Spectrum while I can, and ordering samples from other companies. At some point, I'll settle on a new color palette and see how it changes the pieces I produce.
These are the main bits of info you should know right now:
- Right now colors are going in and out of availability, as other studios are buying up large amounts and production has already stopped on some colors. My distributor is out of stock on some things, and unsure if/when they'll get more. I've decided the best way to handle this is to remain as on top of it as I can and adjust listings on Etsy, etc., as necessary. I'm sending out alerts on Instagram when specific Elements are becoming limited - maybe they'll be back for a while if backordered glass comes through, maybe not. I've no way of knowing so I'm just encouraging people who may have had their eye on something to order sooner rather than later.
- The other decision that I've made, or am making I suppose, is with regard to certain designs which are really reliant on the qualities of the glass I had in mind when coming up with them. Rather than continue with a new glass that feels (to me) like a substitute, I will be discontinuing them. The first I've decided on is the several combination of Honeycomb Drop Elements, which is extremely close to my heart, because it was the first design from Bespoke that really took off, and since 2012, I've never stopped producing these. Making them with any honeyish colored glass that's not Spectrum 110.2 Waterglass will feel like something less good, and that's not what I want to send out to clients. Maybe I'll continue making the design in a mix of other colors (similar to what I did for Urban Outfitters), but these sets, in this form, will be going away once I use my supply of glass. The first cut is the deepest, etc.
SO the coming months are going to bring a lot of change. I'm still waiting on glass samples, still doing A LOT of math breaking down pricing, and will begin making some sort of transition soon. I'm excited to see what new ideas come of it all, and sad to let go of some I've held onto dearly.
If anyone has any questions, studio [ a ] bespoke-glass.com or leave a comment.
Thanks for your understanding & support!