The career of Scott Haebich '78 has taken many twists and turns, including his most recent endeavor in co-owning and operating a glassblowing studio. For the past two years, Haebich has been working in a studio near Grand Rapids, MI, where he shapes his signature flowers, jewel-tone pumpkins and free-form bowls.
“I’m really attracted to the organic and abstract nature of this art form,” Haebich says. “I’ve spent many years creating stained glass, which is much more structured and doesn’t allow any improvising. With glassblowing, you’re manipulating the shapes and colors as you go. Every day in the studio is an adventure.”
His interest in glassblowing began 10 years ago, when friends introduced him to the art form. He later became “addicted,” he says, and two years ago was able to join two fellow artists in setting up a studio. “It came at a time when I was transitioning out of publishing for the stained-glass industry.”
Glassblowing intrigues Haebich because the process can produce unexpected results. Heating the raw material—clear, molten glass—takes about a day inside the furnace. Then, every piece begins with a simple bubble at the end of the pipe and the artist can incorporate more glass and the desired colors. “As you blow the piece, the colors interact with each other,” Haebich explains.
Haebich didn’t foresee a career in art when he graduated from North Central College with an individualized major in business communications. He moved to Indianapolis and took up a hobby creating stained-glass. He worked for a retail store that catered to stained-glass enthusiasts and then had the chance to manage—and later own—a store in Grand Rapids. Later, Haebich started publishing a quarterly newspaper called Stained Glass News. While it grew to a circulation of 100,000, he also started publishing stained-glass pattern books.
Haebich sold the store in 1996 and continued publishing until he started to focus on glassblowing. “Although I’ve always had interests in music and art, to end up with a career in the arts has come as a surprise,” Haebich says. “But I really enjoy the marketing aspect, too, and my entire career has been a great mix of art and business.”
He’s still honing his marketing plan for his art, which is currently carried by seven galleries in Michigan and one in Indiana. He’s especially pleased to have his work sold at Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, which provides steady sales. Yet art shows are also part of the marketing mix. “You can sell more at one art show than in all the galleries combined over a month.”
Haebich adds, “I need to help cover the cost of the furnace running 24/7, which is not cheap. But if I can have fun and not lose money, I’m happy.”
Haebich comes from a family of North Central graduates—father David '48, sister Sue Haebich '75 Fujiu and brother-in-law Dave Fujiu '74. Scott can be reached at email@example.com and his website www.HaebichGlass.com includes a schedule of upcoming shows.
North Central NOW Winter 2009