People don’t think of their glassware choices as either socially or ecologically conscious, but a  local business wants to change that.  I recently spoke to David Pluister, artist, teacher, father, and  entrepreneur who took time  to update me on the evolution of NuvoGlas.

A few years ago, Pluister started NuvoGlas after reading about creating upcycled glassware by fire polishing cut bottles.  Pluister quickly realized that the process wouldn’t translate well to a high school classroom, but was struck by the possibilities for benefiting the local economy and environment. NuvoGlas was born in Pluister’s garage  with the dual goals of benefiting the environment by creating upcycled, functional/artistic glassware, and giving back to the community by providing jobs and training for displaced people.

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Using mostly glass collected from local businesses and wineries, Pluister has developed a selection of upcycled drinking glasses and storage containers that blend functionality, ecology, creativity, and sometimes a tongue in cheek nod to local happenings.  Pluister says “I am an art teacher and drawing has  always been extremely important to me.  I like to draw different whimsical  characters and have fun with my art. I often base my ideas on what is around me.  ‘Put a Bird on It’ and ‘Salem Attack Owl’ are two such designs.”   NuvoGlas can be  bought locally at the Hayesville Roth’s, Lifesource Natural Foods, Made in Oregon, and Artifact in Portland and online at http://nuvoglas.myshopify.com/.   Pluister is also a regular vendor at Salem Saturday Market.

NuvoGlas pieces are  deceptively simple, counting on the beauty of the glass and the etched designs for their appeal. Their understated elegance doesn’t give viewers any clue to the many steps that go into their production. Upcycling is time intensive. The glass must be collected, cleaned, cut, fire polished, and kiln annealed. Pieces which are embellished with NuvoGlas’ signature etched artwork, need the masking stencil applied, sandblasting done, and cleaning. The stencils, whose designs can feature Pluister’s  artwork or anything from  business logos to pet portraits, are created by NuvoGlas and have a several step process of their own.  Currently this work is mostly done by Pluister, but his dream/goal is to grow NuvoGlas into a business which can hire and train displaced people for many of these tasks.

In the past he has worked with IKE Box and the Heroes in Training program, which works with displaced youth and partners with local businesses,  but to really be able to fulfill his goal of community benefit, NuvoGlas needs a space larger than Pluister’s garage.  He is excited to be beginning an Indiegogo campaign on July 19 with the aim of raising the funding make this possible.   “I will be going after capital to move into a  space, purchase equipment, and be able to work with displaced people.”  Pluister is partnering with Corban Enns of Surety Solutions for the crowdfunding campaign. The tagline is “For People and the Planet.”

In describing his  goals, hopes, and reasoning, Pluister expresses the view that the transformative process for the glass can also be mirrored for the people.  “I believe that just as important, if not more, are the “people” NuvoGlas can effect. The goal of NuvoGlas  is to provide vocational, short-term and long-term job training with people touched by poverty or homelessness. The metaphor of transforming discarded glass with hands that belong to people who themselves feel largely discarded is one that is too beautiful to pass.  I believe that the process of becoming functional and a thing of beauty are just as important to the glassware as it is to those who create it.”  Follow NuvoGlas and the “For People and the Planet” crowdfunding campaign at http://nuvoglas.myshopify.com/  or on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/nuvoglas/