Caroline Couture: from breath to light
This article is one of a series on artists who will be participating in the various Christmas markets in Brome-Missisquoi
Salvaging bottles from environmental wreckage and infusing them with beauty and light….that’s a brief description of the modus operandi of glassblower Caroline Couture.
Caroline first discovered what would become her vocation when she saw a television report about the craft. She was blown away! “Glass blowing is so impressive and mysterious,” she remarks. “It’s a craft you seldom hear about, and people don’t know how glass works.” She notes that since it is liquid matter at a certain stage, you can easily shape glass an infinite number of ways. Caroline cites a glass xylophone as just one of countless examples.
The creative young lady complemented her training in the province of Québec by doing an internship in New Zealand, where she expanded her knowledge in the sales and production areas. Then she started her own company, Boutiverre, and it’s now been a year since she has had her street-front workshop boutique in Knowlton, a village whose beauty she thoroughly enjoys. Caroline loves the fact that people are able to discover the mysteries of glass at her workshop, and having previously been a teacher, she is only too happy to explain the various stages of her work.
From liquid to light
At Boutiverre, glasses, vases, bowls, and lamps, in particular, are made from recovered bottles. “Light interacts well with glass; it brings out its patterns and textures.”
The aesthetic richness of glass espouses Caroline Couture’s values: in her view, reusing materials would seem to be the most tangible gesture to make in relation to the current environmental situation. And the fact this is almost a free resource allows her to make these original works very accessible and affordable. “At the price I’m charging, I’m competing with the Chinese!” she remarks. “But I’m offering a more personalized service!”
To make her lampshades and lamps, Caroline uses recovered beer, water and wine bottles. “The bottles all have their own history, and people like to know what it is.” Some people even bring a bottle that is of significance to them, maybe related to a trip, a wedding, etc. Either way, the glass blower provides the opportunity of creating the lamp based on specific criteria. In order for the glass to be remodeled, it has to be heated twice beforehand, including one heating that is done at a temperature of up to 1200 degrees Celsius. Once it has taken on the desired shape, it has to be put back into an oven, so that the temperature goes back down gradually. Caroline Couture likes to mix the techniques. Blown or shaped, the glass turns out to be cut or etched and personalized.
“There are no other glassblowers in Québec with such a complete collection of recovered bottles,” Caroline proudly states.
Boutiverre’s creations can be found in some 30 boutiques in Québec and Ontario.
You can meet Caroline Couture at her Boutiverre workshop, located in downtown Knowlton during the Midnight Madness in Brome Lake and throughout the month of December.