By Ty Snowden | If you have conquered all of the art galleries that Downtown Beaufort has to offer—think again. A favorite we have is Beaufort River Glass at 812 Bay Street, next to Monkey’s Uncle. A local shop so unique; when you enter the gallery you’re immediately hit with a virtual circus of shapes, colors and sizes.
Owner Jennifer Wenk explains that she will be celebrating her third year open very soon, on May 23rd 2018. Her goal was always to make it to Bay Street, and she did just that with previous locations on West Street near the Old Bull Tavern and on Lady’s Island near Dockside. Jennifer always had a retail background and grew up knowing many people who made glass. When she got to Beaufort as quick as she could from New York, she decided she did not want to go back to her old career of real estate. This lead Jennifer to saying she was going to become her own boss and create a job she loved—from that determination, Beaufort River Glass was born.
There is a variety of art in various forms held within these walls. Beaufort River Glass is primarily known for their movement with recycled plastics and glass, which uses a certain category of our clear food and beverage containers that get transformed into indoor and outdoor beauty. In addition to the unique recycled plastic, there are a variety of types of glass present including: blown glass, recycled glass, and cast glass outing (instead of blown). It doesn’t stop there, you can even find metal art, and paintings.
If you are looking for indoor or outdoor décor or gifts, we guarantee you can find an absolute one-time-find here. There are a variety of items to choose from such as vases, bowls, mugs, pottery, a special container that can double as a planter or hold two wine bottles, wall accents, jewelry, clocks, wine stoppers, fan pulls, pottery and stepping stones.
The store makes a great effort to encompass the aura of the Lowcountry. This is successfully done with the beautiful shades swirled into each masterpiece, intermingled with wildlife and landscape unique to the Lowcountry. Some of our favorites were crabs, mermaids, seahorses, turtles, oysters, and alligators—and there are dozens more to find inside.
Jennifer continued to explain that she constantly is incorporating new pieces into the gallery because she constantly needs new and unique visual stimuli in her own personal presence. She hopes this need will be passed on to her guests who stop in to see her. Jennifer guarantees that anything purchased from her gallery will become the focal point of any room.
Also, with a giggle she admitted that she has a constant internal battle of not dragging décor from the shop home to pepper her own home.
We can agree, the temptation is present as you roam about the stores many marvels. Ironically enough, Jennifer explains she cannot decide on a gallery favorite. “Each individual artist and piece is brought in because I feel a passion for it,” she said.
We asked Jennifer to provide some information about four of the artist’s housed at Beaufort River Glass:
Bill Mead’s art stands out with humor. His paintings transform vegetables from a healthy side dish into something with a personality. Yellow squash and green zucchini lean together like an old married couple. Vibrant red peppers, crisp cucumbers, and juicy tomatoes play hide and seek in the marsh. Mead’s titles too, are playful. “Deadheads” shows a group of colorless, pointy artichokes gathered under the bright blue sky, encouraging the viewer to take a second look at the items tucked away in the crisper.
Terry is a studio potter who draws his inspiration from shrimp boats, old pilings and changes of the tides. He’s known for his whimsical stepping stones, lowcountry themed pottery and ceramic art. He lives and breathes the potters life in his home and studio in St. Helena Island. His stoneware and porcelain pieces are microwavable, food sage and dishwater friendly, too.
Deb is both an artist and a Lowcountry Master Naturalist. She uses clay, metal, glass, wood and textiles to combine her two passions: nature and art. Deb’s studio overlooks the tidal creeks of St. Helena Island. It’s here that she is inspired to create many forms of functional original art that reflects the movement and organic beauty found in the ebb and flow of marsh life. Each stoneware piece is unique and hand-built and no patterns are ever used in her creations.
Todd has developed his own colorful art form by combining recycled clear food-safe thermoplastics and using his own coloring process. The result is a beautiful, clear and colorful eco-friendly coral reef-like usable art The bottles are ground into powder and heated to reform, the permanent coloring is kiln-fired creating one of a kind colors and shapes.
If you have not ventured into Beaufort River Glass, it is an absolute Lowcountry essential. Jennifer’s mission for her guests is to make the experience one of their own—inspiring and moving for each individual who steps foot inside.
You’re also guaranteed to be happier after you exit the store than you were when you entered.
Visit Beaufort River Glass and say ‘hi’ to Jennifer and Megan at 812 Bay Street in historic downtown Beaufort.