Take a leisurely drive south on Route 153, and it won’t take long after leaving Conway Village to find a gem in Mt. Washington Valley Arts and Culture scene: The Macomber Glass Studio. Unmistakable due to its brightly colored barn door, the multi-colored mural provides more notoriety than the humble business sign hanging on a granite post at the end of the drive-way.
And that’s just the way artist and owner Nathan Macomber likes it.He isn’t looking for fame or fortune (any more than any other business owner), through his art. The main pillar behind his work is that he enjoys it.
Growing up, Macomber was always fascinated by stained glass. He loved the translucence of stained glass windows and how it threw light onto surfaces. He exercised this interest through classes as a young adult, but after attending a MassArt class on glassblowing wile visiting his sister who was a student at the college, he knew what he had to do.
While Macomber grew up in Vermont and spent summers and winters at his grandparent’s home in Conway, he took his tie to New England and stretched it to Prescott, Arizona. There he attended school and worked as an apprentice at a local glass-blowing studio. Armed with grit and determination to make his interest in glassblowing, real, he called all of the local artists he knew and offered himself as an assistant without pay. The artist that called him back became his teacher.
After six years of working his way from apprentice to professional artist Nathan felt the call of home. Spending childhood vacations on his grandparent’s farm in New Hampshire embedded the mystique and magic of the Mt. Washington Valley in his heart. When that same farm hit the real estate market, he and his wife decided to buy it. (This also meant excavating the foundation of the historical farm. As young adults, and new entrepreneurs, diving this deeply into a renovation project before even opening the Macomber Glass Studio is amazing. It speaks to the belief Nathan had in the future of his studio and the talent he has to showcase in it.)
Now, seventeen years after purchasing the farm and the initial excavation, Nathan is blowing glass daily, featuring his works of art and showing in regional fairs. He and his wife are also carting their two children to baseball practice, tennis and swim lessons; as well as caring for chickens, harvesting for eggs, tending a vegetable garden and walking his dog.
Macomber Glass Studio features an array of anchor pieces from blown drinking glasses; to glass globes and ornaments; wall hangings; sculptures; door knobs and more. Nathan also books custom pieces for clients who have fallen in love with his work.
Regular store hours don’t really exist at the studio. If you’re interested in purchasing a piece just swing on by, knock on the door and Nathan will greet you. And if not Nathan, then Clemmie, the farm dog, will say hello first. From there, walk through his working studio into the gallery that is located in the original part of the barn; an intimate room, with lots of natural light and original wood flooring.
His work rests on shelves, where you can either pick from his inventory or begin talks with him about custom colors and pieces he can create for you.
Beyond his studio work, a special service that Macomber Glass Studio offers is small group lessons. Perfect for groups of three to five people and lasting for up to four hours, Nathan will walk you through the glass blowing process and help you craft your own ornament and work your way up to plates or bowls.
These semi-private lessons are perfect for families looking to supplement their ski vacations with an off-slopes activity. It’s also a great option for art lovers or creatives that want to try something new or someone that just loves the idea of adventure and learning a new skill.
A concept even more novel than a glass-blowing class, are impromptu ornament lessons. From Thanksgiving through the spring, you can show up on weekends, without an appointment and for $40.00 Nathan will teach you to blow your own ornament. Sometimes he has a line of people waiting for a lesson, sometimes you’re the only person in the studio. It’s part of the fun and spontaneous nature of these lessons.
The Macomber Glass Studio is a hidden treasure in the Mt. Washington Valley Arts and Culture scene. It’s this exact quality that makes the experience of working in the studio and taking a piece of Nathan’s art home, so special. His dedication to his work and his passion for the art he creates stays with you. Especially when you’re drinking out of one of his custom blown glasses or admiring one of his wall hangings in your home.