Monthly Archives: February 2007

Twelve years ago we responded to a recurring complaint that we’d heard from front line glass users for over a decade: the scarcity of our Tested Compatible glass in the retail market. After a bunch of internal bickering and squabbling – that’s what I love about this place: all the Yes Men got fired decades ago – we made the decision to open a Resource Center and to sell direct.

Why’d they paint the place that Halloween color unless it’s a portal to Hell?
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Leaving the bucolic idyll of North Lands, I’m back in London for one drizzly Turner-esque day, a climactic decompression chamber in which to re-orient myself to the less romantic side of Bullseye, before I fly home to the daily challenges of a small business, its piffling aggravations and less than dreamy realities.


An overcast boat ride between the Tate galleries seemed an appropriately lugubrious place to reflect on a variety of attitudes I find particularly annoying in Bullseye’s marketplace.
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I’ve got stuff to do … a walk to Latheronwheel Harbor

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I found North Lands in 2001. Although it’s probably more accurate to say that it found me. I was standing in a nearly empty booth at the SOFA/Chicago fair a month after 9/11 when Dan Klein stopped by. In reply to my musings as to where one could go to escape a world gone mad, he said simply “Come to North Lands”.

Double rainbows are as abundant in Caithness as parking tickets in downtown Portland.

North Lands isn’t actually the name of a specific location – it’s more a state of mind. North Lands Creative Glass is in Caithness, Scotland, the northernmost county of mainland Britain. The school itself is in the village of Lybster. Surrounding Lybster is a landscape that is the most ancient I’ve ever experienced. And one where Doing Art makes uncanny sense.
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As art fairs go, so went COLLECT. Hours of endless chatter punctuated by moments of high hope crumbling into I’m-just-lookings, or I’ve-spent-a-fortune-alreadys, or call-me-when-you’ve-got-another-in-a-cooler/warmer/darker/ lighter-shade.
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I’m going to fast forward. We’re into our third day of the fair and still standing. Despite my incessant kvetching, we managed to get through set-up, get the lights focused, glass cleaned and all the clutter crammed into our tiny stand closet, before dashing back to the flat to change and return in time for Opening Night.

“Can you focus it 2.5 mm to the left and about 1.5mm up, Steve?” Loughlin obsessive? Yet another misunderstood personality.
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Last month I was rudely awakened by the shocking rumor of our corporate-ness.

I’ve been introspecting for the last few weeks, ruminating on this ill-fitting identity . But I do sort of get it. It’s a close cousin of that other curious piece of urban mythology surrounding Bullseye lately: that we’re “elitist”.

Dashing to present our glorious objects at the V & A. We must be just SO cool.
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Factory schmactory. I’m on my way to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to set up Bullseye’s stand at COLLECT, the international art fair for contemporary objects.

Fifteen hours, three airports and a cultural canyon away from Garlic Gulch.
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BEFORE: Ray Ahlgren & Dan Schwoerer, 1973.

After 33 years in business, Bullseye looks a lot different from the outside. But the soul is the same. So now, finally, I get around to the point of this first week of blogs: who we are, who Bullseye is.

Who we are is who we’ve always been: a slightly eccentric little factory driven by people with a lot of energy, passion about glass, some oddball ideas and a commitment to learning. In a serious, relatively professional way.
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Part of Bullseye’s Dream Team: left to right, that’s Erik, Tom, Paul and Nathan, loading a 300 lb casting made up of over 700 individual strips of glass.

Today Bullseye’s Research & Education department has a staff of seven full-time technicians who help artists wrestle through new processes and trouble-shoot old ones. They also develop and teach short courses, test new glasses, brainstorm new methods and document what they learn in technical papers that are distributed free on the internet.
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