When walking into Wimberley Glassworks, guests are greeted by a burst of beautiful glass ornaments, vases and lighting illuminated by bright sunlight on elegant white pedestals. From vibrant red and radiant greens to cool blues and titillating lavender, it’s a visual feast.
At the entrance of the studio is a series of photographs, frames and newspaper clippings that share the timeline of Wimberley Glassworks. In one of the frames is Tim de Jong's first glasswork piece, a small circular bowl-shaped glass; his 1979 college ID and a quote: "Every dream starts somewhere!"
Jong, owner and head gaffer of Wimberley Glassworks, is celebrating 30 years in business this month by putting on an anniversary event, called Pearl of a Party, on Saturday to give his thanks to the San Marcos community.
"When I first opened up I was told, 'if you're going to depend on the people in this community, you will never survive,'" Jong said. "I will tell you, in all honesty, if it was not for the people in this community I'd never be here, so it's my thank you to the community because if it wasn't for the people in this area, I would never be here."
Jong is embracing a Caribbean theme for Pearl of a Party since 30 year-anniversaries are represented with pearls. The event will be held on the patio of the glass garden at Wimberly Glassworks and will include live music, a food truck, tropical cocktails, live glassblowing demonstrations, a treasure hunt and the launch of a new line inspired by nature called the Midnight Forest series.
The studio, formerly located at 111 West Spoke Hill in Wimberly, Texas, was first created in 1992, fueled by a dream and a furnace built by Jong from a 55-gallon drum and formed around a beachball. Jong was determined to make a name for his business. Despite the average glasswork studio only lasting five years, Wimberley Glassworks has found success as a commercial glasswork studio and has been able to relocate and expand to a new and larger location built for glassblowing at 6469 Ranch Road 12.
With local support and the help and contributions of community artists, such as Kristin Miller, who specializes in glass jewelry; Wes Sweetser, who has worked with Jong for 18 years as a glasswork artist and Jaclyn Ritter, one of the experienced glass blowers on the team, Wimberley Glassworks has cemented itself as a part of the San Marcos art scene. Jong and his glassblowing team find artistic inspiration in nature and the beauty of Central Texas.
"It's such an incredibly beautiful place to live," Jong said. "The San Marcos River is probably the main reason why I moved down here. It's one of the cleanest rivers in the lower 48 states."
Wimberley Glassworks Marketing and Business Development Director Vanessa de Jong said the studio's emphasis on community and local endorsement is the key to it becoming a staple in San Marcos.
"Tim attributes his success to the support of people around him," Vanessa de Jong said. "The studio has had regulars who have been there from the beginning. Some of those people have brought their children and then years later brought their children. We've seen generations come through those doors."
To commemorate the pearl anniversary and to create a lavish and multicultural atmosphere, Wimberley Glassworks contacted a reggae roots local musician and invited Kirk's Jerk, a Jamaican jerk food truck that is close to the Central Texas community to barbecue on-site.
To further foster the experience, live local music will be performed at the event, starting with a steel drum performance followed by Roland and the Roots Riddim.
Lead singer of Roland and the Roots Riddim, Roland “Mista Muzic” Kemokai, uses his music to share messages about the power of art, nature and building connections with others. He admires Wimberley Glassworks for going above and beyond to create a multicultural arts experience.
"This is our first time playing for Wimberley Glassworks. We’re creating that relationship," Kemokai said. "We get that energy that they are all about the community... As an artist, [that's worth] a lot and is meaningful to musicians. It's all part of connecting."
Pearl of a Party will take place this Saturday, June 11 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the outdoor patio in the glass garden. Admission is free but the deadline to RSVP is the day of the event. Visitors are encouraged to bring a chair and partake in Wimberley Glassworks' joy and luxury-filled evening. Tim de Jong said the event is both to celebrate and show his appreciation to the San Marcos and Wimberley communities.
"I feel like the luckiest person on the planet that after 30 years, I still do what I really love to do because there are so many people that never get the chance to do that," Jong said. "But it's only because I took the chance."
For more information and to RSVP for Pearl of a Party, visit wgw.com/pages/pearlofaparty.