OuluGlass Gallery” Reviewed January 14, 2015
Located in the Northwoods of Wisconsin is a unique, eccentric and eclectic glass blowing studio owned by the Vojacek family of Finnish descent. This is not your "run of the mill" studio. The outside architecture of the buildings gives you the first clue. Then, entering the work room we were greeted by Jim who was teaching his Grandson some glass working techniques. Watching them was a treat-passing down to another generation such a special art. Entering the display area was "at your own risk"-crowded with shelves of glassware and a cat climbing the ornament covered Christmas tree!, it was hard to see everything. Open by appointment in mid winter. Classes in glass blowing and demonstrations also available throughout the year.
Oulu Glass Is Made In The Northland
By KBJR News 1 August 6, 2010Updated Jan 11, 2010 at 12:16 AM CDT Posted by Dave Anderson
"It's a wonderful three generation business. My father started blowing glass in the 60's and everything in the shop is made by someone in the family." says Tonja Sell of Oulu Glass.
Oulu Glass is indeed a family affair. Patriarch Jim blows glass, matriarch Sue does stained glass, daughter Tonja makes jewelry and her children pitch in with labor. 12 year old Riley and 15 year old Stazia help their grandfather in his studio.
That's a lot of human bodies and sand melting heat in a little area."Yeah, sometimes you get in each other's way so you have to learn to work in small spaces with lots of people." said Stazia Sell.
Jim, Stazia and Riley are working on decorative glass fish today.
Artwork like this pulls people to the studio and gallery from all over the world.
"We have people come from Finland and Minneapolis and Chicago just to see the pieces. They see them in magazines and on TV like this and they venture out." said Tonja Sell. They venture out with their wallets open. The artworks in Oulu are for sale and the family is able to make a living from them.
Glass is blown during the cold months and sold during the warm ones. It's a lifestyle Tonja Sell is proud to share with her parents and children. "It's a unique experience my daughters get to have and my children get to have being able to work with their grandparents and to do something so unique when we live next door and spend time together." said Sell.
In Oulu, Dave Anderson, the Northland's News Center.
Though the blowing season is now over, Oulu Glass products are available from the company's online gallery
Summer nights in Solon Springs
In Wisconsin, big-name musicians find their way to a small-town park.
© Beth Gauper
A crowd listens to a blues concert at Lucius Woods County Park in Solon Springs.
Just two miles from the start of the Bois Brule, another famous river flows in the opposite direction.
It's the St. Croix, flowing out of Upper St. Croix Lake and toward the Mississippi River. The two rivers are separated by a continental divide but became an important water highway for Indians, explorers and fur traders.
Today, their two-mile portage trail is part of the North Country National Scenic Trail and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
On the western edge of Upper St. Croix Lake, 23 miles from the town of Brule, Solon Springs is a small resort village that makes an excellent weekend getaway.
We had another shopping destination in mind — Oulu Glass Gallery, in an old Finnish enclave just north of Brule, the paddling and fishing hub just to the north, on U.S. 2.
Jim Vojacek sells his art glass at galleries in Duluth and Bayfield, and I have two of his vases in art-nouveau swirls of blue and green.
I was dying to see the mother lode. But when I walked into the gallery, my eyes nearly popped out of my head.
“Sometimes, people come in and say, ‘I don’t think I can look at all of this today,’ ’’ said Kyra Robinson, Sue Vojacek’s niece, who was minding the overflowing shop.
Needless to say, I spent some money. In this corner of northwest Wisconsin, there’s more to do than paddle.