“Similar to WaterFire, at the root of Gather Glass there is a passion for art, community, and of course fire.” – Benjamin Giguere, artist at Gather Glass
At WaterFire we proudly collaborate with local artists to create unique pieces for our store and spread our passion for art and culture. One of our partners is Providence glassblowing business Gather Glass, who became one of our vendors shortly after forming in 2010. There have been countless hours spent conceptualizing, designing, creating, packaging, and producing a variety of products from jewelry to glassware all inspired by the water and flames of WaterFire.
The artists at Gather Glass are very passionate about community, and WaterFire is an ideal setting for sharing their work on-site during the fires and connecting the audience with their process. They joined us by the river over six years ago to show the city the art of glassblowing and have been working alongside our store every lighting since.
“From the very first lighting we attended, we felt something very special was happening. Between the crackling of the river fires, the sound of the flame from our torch and the meditative music in the air, we began to seamlessly melt into the backdrop of a city transformed into an art scape. We immediately felt at home.”
“Each time you look into your glass pendant or earring, we hope you remember the smell of wood burning or feel the heat of the fires against your skin. It is these sensations that inspired our work; we hope they inspire you in the same way. We feel honored and inspired to be part of this evolving art event and look forward to all the creative possibilities that lie ahead.”
For several years, Joseph “JJ” Strong of Photon Fabrications has designed some of our most beautiful WaterFire gifts found in the WaterFire Merchandise Store. Photon Fabrications combines art, engineering, and modern technology with a laser cutting machine. Our relationship with JJ Strong began after being introduced through Gather Glass (another fabulous merchandise partner!) who had just collaborated with JJ on another project. Our first product collaboration with JJ was the creation of the WaterFire Wooden Magnet which continues to be a WaterFire Fan favorite! Over the past few years we’ve created many different designs and products. Including: Ornaments, “Matchbox Memories”, and the new Brazier and City Skyline Bamboo Key Chains! We hope every challenge we give him will allow him to feed his passion and talent as a laser cut designer. (Check out all the WaterFire Photon Fabrications products here!)
“At WaterFire Providence I’ve found a group of fellow artisans that concern themselves with quality of design as much as I do. The folks at WaterFire work hard to maintain a high standard. As a young artist – just starting college when I created those first magnets – my experience with WaterFire has taught me a lot. I’ve been lucky to be a part of a great Rhode Island tradition and I look forward to many more WaterFire projects down the road!”
-JJ Strong of Photon Fabrications
We are excited to share our support and admiration of JJ’s wonderful laser cut designs. Today, JJ is creating laser cut designs for every occasion available on his website and at local art fairs in Rhode Island.
A piece usually begins life as a model in Solid Works, a 3D engineering program, where the basic form is created. The model is then translated into a 2D art program, Corel Draw, Adobe Illustrator, or both where I add all of the detail that the laser will engrave. This software allows for a huge range of detail to be added and manipulated. Finally to take the art from a digital image to a physical object a Versa Laser CNC machine, which cuts out the components to make the final pieces, which are then assembled into the finished product.