A personal message from Mark regarding "custom" glass on our site.
Glass Paradise features borosilicate flamework by several artists. However, all custom items are made exclusively by one person: Mark Black. There is no factory or production line... just me and a couple of associate artists who help with the shipping & such.
I have done my best to interpret throughout our site and distinguish which items are
"pre-made" (ready to ship) and highlight which items are "custom" made-to-order.
From the beginning of my glass career I have dreamed of a way I could invite friends and visitors into the creative process. Through the internet I've moved closer to accomplishing that goal by offering a selection of products which are customizable via drop-down menus in the item description. My custom work allows you to select various color combinations, and available design features such as custom inscription, dichroic images, etc.
While I'm creating your custom piece I see your name on the packing slip and imagine you enjoying my work... I also visualize the state or country it's shipping to (thinking... wow, my glass is going there)! I especially enjoy this (vicarious) experience. To me it's just like hanging out in the studio with new friends from around the world & having creative fun together.
Generally speaking, when you place a custom order it's going to take approx. 5-7 days turnaround time, and that's before shipping. Even if I'm all caught up there's the day your piece is being made, then another that it needs to go through a complete annealing cycle in our kiln (this relieves any mechanical stress and ensures optimal durability). The following morning the kiln will be cooling down & your piece then needs to be carefully packed for safe shipping. Possibly that same afternoon.
Just to be on the safe side: I encourage you to order custom glass as early as possible (if it's for someone's birthday, etc.) to avoid delays caused by production or shipping, and use the "comments" field at checkout, alerting me to any special circumstances or time constraints. By informing me of your "deadline" I will have the opportunity to consider wether it's do-able, and if not I'll refund your payment immediately so you can make other plans.
The #1 reason I'm a self-employed: no one owns tomorrow (strive to make each day sacred). I sincerely believe that environmental stress can degrade one's consciousness, and shorten the lifespan. That's why I've created my own "glass paradise" where each and every day I am excited (like a kid on Christmas morning) to unload the kiln & handle my cooled-off creations for the first time. Then, I am excited to fire up the torch and make more!
When I'm not traveling I spend seven days a week in my glass studio "working" 10-14 hrs a day, because there is nothing in the world that I would rather be doing. In fact, I've come to realize that this life is not long enough for me to even scratch the surface of all that I want to create with glass.
So please, if you want a piece of my work and you need it NOW, browse the selection of pre-made items on our site. These are all ready to ship (usually within 48 hrs).
Can you imagine the challenges of sculpting something you cannot touch, except with tweezers and carbon rods, or communicating in the language of fire and molten glass? These are the things I strive to accomplish each day in my studio.
I can tell you sincerely, that creating with glass brings me the greatest joy I've ever known. Better yet, I am thrilled by the concept that my life's energies are devoted to something which will in turn bring joy to countless others. Each & every day this artistic legacy multiplies, and that is really what it's all about.
When you perceive my flamework creations: please remember me kindly, and know that I've poured my heart and soul into each and every piece.