1096 VT Route 30, Townshend, Vt.
Robert DuGrenier started the business in 1980; he’s a well-known sculptor and artist working with primarily glass, metal, and marble. His work is often inspired by nature and its effect on a variety of elements. Since the age of 13, after being inspired by the Czechoslovakia Pavilion at the Expo 67 in Montreal, his passion of glass started and has continued for over 45 years.
DuGrenier trained as a goldsmith and glassblower at the Philadelphia College of Art and Hornsey College of Art in London. He earned his Master of Fine Arts in sculpture at the Illinois State University. With an impressive background and a mind for creativity, DuGrenier has amassed a variety of high-end clients such as Ritz Hotel Paris and Tiffany & Co. He was even commissioned to redesign the flame for the Statue of Liberty, and he produced the scale model that the French artisans used to sculpt the new flame.
DuGrenier has also created many art pieces that can be viewed right here in Vermont. His collection “Out of the Ashes” is showcased in the “Healing: The Transformative Imagery of Art” exhibition in The Great Hall in Springfield until March 30, 2019. The collection is made from metal and cast iron pieces from farm equipment left behind in a barn fire on his property in 2015. DuGrenier is currently working on a piece for Glasstastic, an exhibit at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center where children from kindergarten through sixth grade draw imaginary creatures that glass artists throughout New England turn into sculptures. The exhibit will open March 9 through June 16.
Other pieces can be found in DuGrenier’s gallery in Townshend, Vt. Pieces include both functional items such as tableware and ornaments as well as more fanciful designs and sculptures. An especially unique functional item is his glass hermit crab shell. In the mid-1990s, DuGrenier was walking along a beach with his wife Kathy when they noticed a hermit crab living in the bottleneck of a broken cola bottle. He was bothered that people were collecting the shells and leaving trash. Seeing the hermit crab in the glass bottle inspired him to design glass shells that “[follows] the spiral formations which accommodate the contours of a hermit crab’s body.” These hermit shells are popular with schools, aquariums, and private pet owners because they allow people to observe the entire body of the hermit crab.
DuGrenier also hosts glass blowing demonstrations in his studio on Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. He teaches workshops where people can learn to blow glass and make unique items. These workshops can be found on Air B&B, listed under experiences.
The gallery is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To learn more about his products, art installations, and more, visit www.dugrenier.com.