A Piece of Art - Artisan Handblown Glass

It was December 2021 when we met Rachael Strittmatter, a neighboring vendor at Pittsburgh's Handmade Arcade Holiday Market. I fell in love with her art and style and knew then that she'd be the perfect person to bring our vision of handcrafted candle glasses to life.


Meet the Artist, Rachael

My name is Rachael Strittmatter and I have been blowing glass since 2015. I grew up in the outskirts of Harrisburg, PA where I went to Harrisburg Area Community College and took my first gather of molten glass. Originally, I was going to school for ceramics and when I started to lose interest in it, I took a glass blowing class and quickly realized that I wasn't losing an interest in art, I was just in the wrong studio! I continued my education at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY where I received my BFA in Glass in May 2020. The following January I came to the Pittsburgh Glass Center for a year-long Technician Apprentice program and I loved the Pittsburgh glass community so much that I stuck around! My work has been featured in numerous exhibitions and I have held international residencies in Japan and the Czech Republic. 

My hand made glass products reflect my interest in bringing traditional glass-working techniques into the modern world with innovative design. I specialize in hand blown glass jewelry, barware, and home decor and most of my products start out with molten glass in the hot shop. Often, my work will make use of multiple glass processes and studios such as the cold shop, where I am able to engrave, carve, and polish the glass that I have already made in the hot shop. This way of working allows for a lot of versatility and innovation in my practice.


The Process

These candle jars are made using traditional glass blowing techniques. I first blow a colorful bubble of glass into a wooden mold soaked in water, to prevent the mold from burning. Then I cut the tops of the glass off after it has cooled down overnight, leaving a rough finish on the lip of the glass jar. Glass has to cool slowly or else it could break! This method of cutting the tops off allows me to ensure that all of the jars will be the same height. It is extremely difficult and time consuming to make the exact same shape and size without a mold, that's why I love them for this kind of work! After the tops are cut off, I slowly bring them back up to temperature, 930 degrees F, and pull them out of the annealer (kiln/oven) one by one. While the glass jar revolves on a lazy susan, I hit the lip with a very hot torch until it has completely smoothed out and returned back to its glossy shine. 

After I have a finished cup/candle jar, the next step is any surface engraving. In this case, a Chez Lapin logo has been sandblasted onto the surface of the glass! I am able to put an exact logo or image on the glass using a vinyl cutter, vinyl, and a sandblaster. I essentially create a vinyl sticker that acts as a stencil. The sandblaster is a big machine that pumps grit out of a nozzle at a high pressure that is meant to remove glass material from the surface. I put the glass color, frit, on the outside of the glass so that when we sandblast away the color, there is a clear window into the candle jar/ cup. Voila! Now we have a Chez Lapin x Strittmatter Glass original candle jar, ready to be filled! 


As you can see, Rachael handcrafts these beautiful glasses for you to enjoy years to come, far after the candle has been burned. They can be re-filled, used as a vase, or even a drinking vessel. We hope that you love them as much as we do!

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.