BOYCE HAND-BLOWN ART GLASS PERFECT FOR GIFT GIVING AND COLLECTING
West Union, West Virginia :
If you lived in Parkersburg, West Virginia, you could cross the river into the quiet, rural town of West Union and knock on Kevin and Edna Boyce’s door. No doubt, Edna would greet you from the open doors of the shop next to the house. She’d wave you in and you’d probably find Kevin blowing on a long, narrow rod with a blob of glass on the end.
Within minutes, you’ll be mopping your brow with a Kleenex because winter or summer, the glass blower’s shop is one of the hottest places on the face of the earth. He can’t pause for breath until the multicolored blob expands to a shimmering six-inch globe that he will quickly transfer to a small furnace to cool slowly. The display of ornaments you’d see in various stages, would boggle your mind.
Fortunately, you don’t have to live in Parkersburg to see his collection or witness a glass blowing demonstration.
The Boyer family will come to the Shaker Woods Festival to set up their awesome display for the second year this summer. Edna is already packing Christmas ornaments and icicles, plant watering balls, glass-stemmed birds, ring bowls, mini vases and napkin rings that bring to mind a heavenly display of the aurora borealis. If weather predictions hold true, you’ll find the weather at Shaker Woods warm, but not sweltering like a glassblower’s shop would be.
“I’d say Kevin is a bit on the shy side,” Edna says. “You’ll never hear him bragging about his artwork, but I just can’t help myself. I’m so proud of what he does, I have to tell everyone.”
Kevin went to work at a glass factory after graduating from high school in 1977. As he gained experience, he moved to a larger factory an hour away from home and eventually apprenticed with another glass blower. In the meantime, he was setting up a shop at home and dreamed of starting his own business. In 1999, his dream became a reality.
“It’s wonderful to be able to make a living doing what you love,” Edna says. “And we get to work with our three daughters, who help in many different ways.”
In 2005, Kevin designed a special limited addition ornament he named, “Blessed.” It’s dedicated to Heather, the couple’s middle daughter, who was seriously injured in an auto accident.
“We were so thankful she survived and this ornament was our way of sharing our blessing.”
The following year, Kevin honored their eldest daughter, Amber, with another limited edition, “Inspiration.” Her mother says Amber lights up a room with her smile and her gift of kindness. In 2007, their youngest daughter, Tiffany, became Kevin’s honoree. He named her ornament, “Destiny” and shaped it like a heart to represent the love she added to the family.
“Going into business for yourself is an act of faith,” Edna says. “You work for months and months hoping people will like what you do.”
As it’s turned out, their ornaments have been so popular that they haven’t had to do a lot of promotion on their own. In addition to the Shaker Woods Festival, their hand-blown glass is featured in 100 shops across the United States.
Think about the people on your gift list. Are they bird lovers? The Boyers will bring a selection of chubby colorful birds to grace a bookshelf or you can choose birds on glass rods to add to your houseplants. Kevin’s blown glass napkin holders will make every dinner a banquet.
Many ornaments are price in the $10 to $12 range. Plan to spend enough time at the Boyd’s booth to see a glass-blowing demonstration.