Tucked away in the small town of Stowe, Vermont, right by the river, is a gem of an art studio called Little River HotGlass Studio. As the name implies, the pieces made here are of finely crafted glass. No two pieces are the same; each one unique in its own way.
Proprietors Michael Trimpol and Monique LaJeunesse have partnered to collaborate and create in this working studio, which encourages people to visit, watch, and interact with the artists. It looks like something out of a storybook!
Michael is no stranger to art. His interest began back in elementary school. While attending summer camp, he got involved in painting the sets for the plays, instead of performing in them. His introduction to glass started with a high school stained-glass course, and he went on to pursue a career in this while attending college at Concordia University. But he felt something was missing. He realized he felt limited; he wanted something three-dimensional – that’s when glassblowing sparked his interest. So much so that he enrolled in the Sheridan College School of Craft and Design in Ontario. Four years after graduating in 1985, he established his own blown glass company, and in 1995 relocated to his present location in Stowe where he designs handcrafted, one-of-a-kind pieces.
Michael explains, “I get ideas, often process related, try them and see how they actually work. The ideas are most often related to form, optics or pattern.”
A typical day in the studio entails him getting everything fired up and then starting the blowing process a couple of hours later. In the midst of that, he also helps out in the gallery and teaches, as needed. Monique handles an array of duties including ensuring the gallery is kept up and nice, assisting customers, packing and shipping items, organizing orders, accounting and best of all – walking the dogs! She is extremely passionate about animal welfare. A special thing the studio does is accept donations to animal rescue organizations in lieu of an admission fee.
Monique holds an Honors BFA from the University of Guelph in Ontario, as well as a diploma in Fine and Decorative Arts from Christie’s, London. She relocated to Stowe in 1995 to design for and manage Little River HotGlass Studio.
The pair work very well together, and it is evident in the pieces they create. Their repertoire includes bowls, vases, perfume bottles, paperweights and much more. Pieces can be viewed and purchased locally at the shop, on their website littleriverhotglass.com and at many galleries throughout the country. Lucky for us, Memphis’ own T. Clifton Gallery is one of them! It’s worth it to take a look and explore what they have to offer. Any of the pieces would make a beautiful gift for an art lover or a fine addition to your own home.