Moonshine Glass Art is open for business in Enterprise. The new installation to the Wallowa County art industry makes and sells glass art. But so much more than a typical studio and gallery, the new Enterprise storefront also has an interactive appeal, offering a menu of different classes that customers can dive into.
Inspired by longtime local artist Russell Ford, Moonshine Glass Art is owned by Portland native Stirling Webb. Webb moved to Wallowa County nine years ago in 2010.
After visiting his mother, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimers, Webb realized his mom would need some extra help. He packed up his Portland life and moved east to Wallowa County. Once here, Webb came into a good group of friends as well as opportunity for work at Terminal Gravity Brewing where he did a little bit of everything.
In fact, Webb credits Terminal Gravity for indirectly providing a stepping-stone into his career in glasswork. It was there that Webb met colleague Jake Kurtz. Kurtz, who also works at Moonshine Glass Art, was a coworker at Terminal Gravity and first introduced Webb to Ford.
Kurtz and Ford, who between the two have over 50 years of glass-blowing experience, brought Webb into the craft, teaching him what they know. Webb reiterated the importance that the two played in shaping his new career. “I can’t thank Russell Ford and Jake Kurtz enough for bringing me into this,” said Webb.
Webb discovered in just six months of working with glass that this was what he wanted to do. He needed to open his own shop. “I was surprised at how it all came so naturally to me,” said Webb. And while the business is so much more than just creating and selling art, teaching others came naturally to Webb as well. “I didn’t know I would be good at talking people through the process … but it came naturally too.”
Determined to turn his passion into a career, Webb combined all of his savings and some loans to make his dream a reality. He remarked, “I did everything I had to do to make this happen.”
But Webb also acknowledged that he could not have done any of this on his own. “I want to express my gratitude to this whole place,” said Webb with a hand gesture towards Mount Joseph. He continued, “to all these people, everyone who helped me get all of this together … probably over 40 people came in and helped on their own time.”
Webb gave special credit to his wife, Emily Bright. During the three month process of getting the shop open for business, Bright really stepped up and supported Webb in number of ways. “Emily is the only way I could do this.”
It wasn’t a simple task getting the shop up-and-running. There’s quite a lot of overhead required to work in glass. The main furnace, set to an intimidating 2,070 degrees during working hours — 1,800 the rest of the time, “runs constantly for three years at a time,” Webb said. Between all the equipment and energy costs, a shop like this takes a lot of preparation and planning.
For Webb, every step and every struggle is well worth it. “Every day I come here and it doesn’t feel like work to me. When I come here I’m inspired,” he said. Not one to take all the credit himself, however, “I’ve got a great team.”
And to Webb, all of this is only a starting point. “I totally look forward to incorporating more people into this shop … to making it bigger and better,” said Webb.
Informally, Webb keeps an open door policy — if he’s there anyone is welcome to come in and he will do his best to accommodate. “That’s just how I roll,” said Webb.
Beyond that, the established hours are Thursday through Saturday: 10 a.m. — 6 p.m. It may be another month before the business’s website is up and running.
For now, interested customers can schedule classes with Emily Bright at 541-398-2090.