This year a beautiful Steuben Blue Aurene vase adorns our annual postcard. And if you’ve ever stopped by our booth – you know we LOVE Steuben Aurene Glass. But just what IS Steuben Aurene Glass?
Let’s start here: Aurene glass was made by Steuben Glass Works – which was an American art glass manufacturer. The company was founded in 1903 by Frederick Carder and Thomas G. Hawkes.
You might know the name Hawkes – he was the owner of the largest cut glass firm in Corning, New York. As for Fredrick Carter – he was the head designer for Stevens and Williams (based out of England) and when they passed him over for a promotion, Hawkes convinced him to become the artistic designer, production supervisor, and marketing director of the new Steuben Glass Works factory – located in Corning, New York – in the county of Steuben (pronounced with the accent on the last syllable) – hence the name!
When Carder arrived, he immediately began to produce crystal blanks for the artisans at the Hawkes factory to cut – which ensured his success. But his passion was colored glass – and in 1904 he invented Gold Aurene.
The name Aurene comes from the Latin word for gold and the English word sheen. It is produced by spraying clear malleable glass with a metallic chloride – and then heating it in a patent-protected process – which caused the glass surface to “crackle into millions of tiny lines that reflect light like a layer of oil floating on water” — creating a luminous and iridescent finish. In 1905 Carder added additional colors including cobalt blue, green, red and brown.
Around the same time Tiffany Co. was producing a similar iridescent glass called Favrile. Both Carder and Tiffany thought “their” recipe or process was the victim of corporate espionage and took one another to court. The judge personally went and observed both “secret” processes and found that while the glass looked similar – the methodology used to create Favrile and Aurene glass were indeed very different. And if you take the time to feel the finishes – you can tell the difference yourself.
We have both Steuben and Tiffany pieces on our table. But to be honest – Steuben Aurene is our favorite. You should stop by and test feel it for yourself!
Are you ready? We almost are. Just some few last minute details to complete then we’ll be ready to roll out the welcome mat! Remember, our first show is just 9 days away in Spirit Lake, Iowa in the Expo Building at the Fairgrounds. We look forward to seeing your smiling faces there!
We’ve had our fair share of rotten weather at outdoor shows.
- Snow in October at the Cranberry Festival.
- 70 mph straight-line winds in Okoboji.
- Tornado sirens going off in Walnut.
- And last August in Oronoco, rain & more rain.
At Oronoco Gold Rush 2016…
- It poured Thursday night during set-up.
- It rained Thursday night while we slept.
- It rained Friday morning.
- It rained Friday afternoon.
- It rained Friday night.
- It sprinkled off and on a good portion of Saturday.
And then finally the sun decided to bless us on Sunday.
OK. The weather was BAD. But let me give you the good news. The volunteers…let me say that again, THE VOLUNTEERS at Oronoco Gold Rush SAVED THE DAY!
The ground was pretty much saturated before we got there. So there really wasn’t anywhere for the water to go. So when it started raining on Thursday — it only took about 10 minutes before the water in our tent was mid-calf!
We were devastated. We knew we couldn’t expect customers to walk through 8 inches of water to shop! And with so many friends that we only get to see at Gold Rush — the idea of having to shut down was — well — horrible.
But it didn’t take long before the Oronoco Gold Rush Committee Volunteers swooped in. The fire department pumped the water out of our booth yet that evening. Our soaked tablecloths were washed and dried by a kind-hearted volunteer. Friday morning (at 5am) Skyler & Beau were at our booth — armed with a electric pump — to ensure that we would be ready for business at 8am. And then the whole committee checked back on us, regularly, all weekend long.
Yep. It rained. And it rained long and hard. The support we received however from the Oronoco Gold Rush Committee allowed us to be open and serve our customers — without having to “wade in the water.”
So a BIG THANK YOU goes out to the Oronoco Gold Rush Committee. Those folks take a lot of grief, don’t get paid, and in 2016 had to deal with unbelievable weather — and they do it year after year with patience and a smile. We’ll never forget 2016 — not because of the weather — but because of the good people of Oronoco, Minnesota.