Melt Glass was first started 30 years ago in Milwaukie, Ore., by SheriAnn Spurlock and her mother and began as a small stained glass supply house and instruction studio. Ten years ago, they moved operations to Vancouver and expanded their offerings to include fused glass and mosaic supplies and classes. They have also developed a large following online and ship their products around the world from their retail location at 502 Washington St.
Today, Spurlock owns and operates the company, providing classes that are accessible for anyone, regardless of skill level. With her background in fine arts and degrees in business, she has helped guide Melt Glass from its humble beginnings to an industry leader that is known by artists worldwide.
When the pandemic began, Spurlock experienced setbacks like most small business owners. However, in 2021, the company experienced their highest revenues in their 30-year history.
“I believe people are hungry for experience and for meaning,” she said. “In our small section of downtown, the businesses have all rallied around each other with support in the form of cross-promotions, carrying each other’s products, encouraging our customers to frequent our neighbor’s shops and so many more ways. Strong partnerships and friendships have been formed. It is a unique and wonderful atmosphere that we are grateful to be part of. I believe that those who frequent Melt, and our neighbors, sense this closeness and supportive, positive energy when they come down here.”
For Spurlock, Melt Glass isn’t just a business. It’s also a way to create art as a form of therapy.
“Using your hands and heart to form an object, to write a song or poem, to move to music, to paint or to sculpt can be a healing process,” she said. “We have seen it in our classrooms and workshops. As artists ourselves, we have felt that healing personally. During the past few years, that healing has been more important than ever.”
Spurlock said that while parking can be challenging, their downtown location has been a huge benefit to their business. Being near the freeway allows easy access to artists and students from both sides of the rivers.
This summer, the company will celebrate their 10th year in Vancouver and Spurlock is thrilled about what the future looks like for her company. They recently finished a large window project for the new owners of the old Lucky Loan building that will be unveiled soon. In the meantime, Melt Glass will be expanding the class schedule with new instructors. Their online platform will also enable them to bring their classes and techniques to those who are not able to travel to Vancouver.
“This year, we are adding a new classroom and workshop to our existing space, with hopes to expand yet again in 2023 to add another classroom specifically for torchwork,” she said. “The workshop will be used to satisfy the many requests for commissioned stained-glass windows and repairs of all types. The cost of materials has skyrocketed in recent months, but it does not seem to have affected our client’s enthusiasm for creating. We are doing as well as ever.”