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Fire Dancers
Published: 02/18/2009
Suzanne Kindland and Jim Kingwell have mastered an intricate dance of choreographed moves as their molten glass globs take the steps toward fine art.
Suzanne Kindland and Jim Kingwell have mastered an intricate dance of choreographed moves as their molten glass globs take the steps toward fine art.
Photo by Gary Hayes

The artists at Icefire Glassworks in Cannon Beach have mastered an intricate dance of choreographed moves as molten glass transforms into fine art.

Glass artists Jim Kingwell and Suzanne Kindland don't really dance with fire, but their smoothly choreographed moves while handling glowing globs of molten glass make it seem so. The artists have worked together at Icefire Glassworks in Cannon Beach for so long, they can easily anticipate the next move of their partner. The artists alternate roles, with one assisting the other artist as they add molten glass to their work and head for the "glory hole," the furnace blasting flames at over 2000 degrees. While one is the maker of a project, it takes only a word or two, or a gesture, to tell the assistant what to do next and often no words are spoken as they anticipate the next move. While most artists work in a solitary environment, Kingwell and Kindland make art with an audience. Their work area is separated by windows from an observation area in the gallery. A small sign cautions observers to ask questions after a work is done so as not to disturb their concentration, though the artists often share their thoughts during the process when they can. Kingwell has been blowing glass for 38 years and Kindland for 16 years. In February, the Icefire artists were the subjects of an "Oregon Art Beat" episode on Oregon Public Broadcasting, when Kingwell indicated what a satisfying life it was to "blow bubbles and play with fire all day long" and make a living at it. A visit to Icefire Glassworks is a must during a trip to Cannon Beach. - By Stella Bennett

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