Montville glass blower earns state, regional distinction

Jacobson: Following wife's death, art 'saved me'
By Fran Gonzalez | Apr 16, 2018
Photo by: Fran Gonzalez David Jacobson does the glass blower's dance April 9, keeping the glass pliable by heating it every few minutes.

Montville — Glass blowing is referred to as a dance, according to David Jacobson, master glass blower and owner of Jacobson Glass Studio in Montville. Observing Jacobson work in his antique retrofitted barn next to his house on Choate Road, one can easily see why.

Scooping up the molten glass with a long hollow rod from the fiery furnace, blowing an air bubble within the blob of glass with the consistency of honey, and then turning it on a metal table, Jacobson is always moving.

"I usually work with an assistant, making the work much more efficient and very social," Jacobson said. "There is good energy and form, the physical aspect of it, and it's really different."

Taking bits of colored glass, or frit, he rolls the ever-changing orange glowing blob at the end of the rod, adding color to what will become a drinking glass, all the while explaining each step of the process.

Reheating the glass at the end of the rod every few minutes, Jacobson keeps it pliable, shaping it into a recognizable form.

Recently Jacobson was honored with the U.S. Small Business Administration's Micro Enterprise of the Year Award for Maine and New England.

“David’s story shows us that personal determination is a key to being successful in any business, large or small,” said Amy Bassett, SBA district director for Maine. “I am very pleased to present this prestigious award for Maine and New England to such a deserving recipient.”

Jacobson said he "hooked up" with the Maine Small Business Development Center and started working with counselor and business adviser David Hill.

"With (Hill's) fantastic support and also that of the community and friends," he said, "I put together a business plan. Some things worked and some didn't. I tried to stick with the good stuff."

Hill nominated Jacobson for the award because of his tenacity and how he overcame adversity.

The glass-blowing hobbiest and his wife moved to their Montville home in 2003. He spent a year renovating what used to be a shed on the property into a glass studio housing his 2,135-degree furnace, sculpting tools, forge and glass. In 2014 Jacobson started his glass blowing venture full-time.

"My wife Elizabeth died unexpectedly in 2016. I met with David Hill more frequently," Jacobson said. "I wanted to double my income overnight because we were a two-income family. My fledgling glass business had to carry the whole thing.

"I just kept going," Jacobson said. "With help from David Hill and Maggie Bokor, a marketing counselor, with friends and community, I had some real creative ideas on how to expand my business, trying all different types of things, exciting new prospects."

As a way of dealing with his loss, he made a memorial urn for Elizabeth and, in doing so, realized he wanted to offer this service to others for healing.

"Glass blowing saved me," Jacobson said.

He created workshops for people to come in and learn how to make pieces themselves. He also started a program of renting a suite in his home on Airbnb that includes a glass blowing workshop.

In a recent undertaking that is still evolving, Jacobson is collaborating with other area craftspeople to try and produce a website geared to drawing people to inland Waldo County.

"Making this area a destination," Jacobson said. "It's a gorgeous ride and while you are here there's tons of other things to do.

"I've had this energy and great focus because I love it here and I know Elizabeth would want this for me," he said. "I love what I do and that's what's giving me the most energy."

Jacobson will be honored at the 2018 SBA Small Business Awards Celebration May 1 at the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport.

For more information on the artist, visit davidjacobsonglass.com.

The molten glass is the consistency of honey on the end of glass blower David Jacobson's rod. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
The tools of glass-blower David Jacobson's trade on his work table April 9. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
David Jacobson creates an air pocket within the molten glass April 9. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
David Jacobson shapes the glass with a wooden form April 9.
The wooden form steams after the glass is removed from it April 9. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
David Jacobson cuts the opening in what will become a drinking glass April 9. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Recent pieces made at one of David Jacobson's workshops. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
David Jacobson carefully inspects the drinking glass he has just created April 9. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
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