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Walking into the bright, glass-walled Sturgeon Bay studio of Jeremy Popelka and Stephanie Trenchard, I’m greeting by Jeremy, who is taking a break from blowing his colorful glasswork. The shop and studio of Popelka Trenchard Glass, located in the heart of Sturgeon Bay, is one large space divided only by an open doorway.
Visitors get a first hand look at the tools, process, and impressive furnace that create the glassworks of this Door County couple. Popelka and Trenchard moved to Door County 16 years ago, drawn, like many artists, by the low cost of living, affordability of studio space, and the family-friendly qualities of the community. “We came here from the Bay area when our kids were three and five years old,” says Trenchard, "now they're both in college." During those years, Popelka Trenchard Glass has become a mainstay of the Peninsula art scene.
Glass Figurines created for The Glass Menagerie Although Stephanie is now a sought-after glass artist, she hasn’t abandoned her painting career—far from it. Her large colorful works, which feature both landscapes and abstract works, adorn the walls of the gallery, and are also the permanent installation at Sturgeon Bay’s trendiest new restaurant, 136. The colors and forms on her canvasses inform her glass work, which have a painterly sense of light, translucent color and composition.
Potawatomi Path by Stephanie Trenchard Popelka and Trenchard once traveled extensively to participate in the top American craft shows, but now have national gallery representation, including the Tory Folliard Gallery in Milwaukee, so they are able to stay closer to home and spend their time creating. Vase by Jeremy Popelka. “People who come into the gallery are surprised at the diversity of work created by just two artists,” says Popelka. “And they enjoy being able to come into the gallery and actually get a taste of how the process works.
The work here is only a few feet away from where it was born.” At the end of my visit, Trenchard and Popelka let on that it’s their 26th wedding anniversary.
As they stand side by side in the studio to pose for a picture, they project an easy, intimate vibe that suggests they’ll be creating art - and living life- together for many more years to come. Popelka Trenchard Glass offers Saturday firing demonstrations throughout the summer. They also teach private and small group glassblowing classes by arrangement. For more information, follow them on Facebook or call (920) 743.7287.
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