Since 1968, visitors to Cape Cod have enjoyed the beauty of the fine quality fused glass of Sydenstricker Glass. Located on Route 6A, at 490 Main St. in Brewster, the Sydenstricker Glass Gallery and Workshop is a must see for art enthusiasts.
Sydenstricker Glass is like the “Tiffany’s” of Cape Cod, as their unique and finely crafted glass work has been sought after by artists and collectors for years.
Pieces of Sydenstricker Glass are on exhibit in many major galleries and museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Toronto Museum of Art, the Tiffany Museum in Florida, and the Chrysler Museum of Art in Virgina. Even several American Embassies serve dessert on a set of Sydenstricker Glass.
This unique form of glasswork was born on Cape Cod in the mid 1960’s by founder and artisan Bill Sydenstricker.
Sydenstricker developed this new craft of glass work with the inspiration of the research he conducted while at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on early Egyptian Art. His research, ingenuity, and efforts resulted in a new type of glass design produced by a method similar to the ancient art of enameling.
The process of creating this beautiful artwork begins with a large sheet of clear glass. The glass is cut into two identical pieces that will eventually be fused together.
Using stencils made of a variety of materials such as paper, material or plastic, the stencil is then covered with different colors of powdered glass using a mesh sieve. This process is repeated many times until the desired pattern is achieved.
Pieces are then placed on terracotta molds and prepared for firing in kilns.
The kilns are set to reach temperatures of 1500 degrees fahrenheit, ensuring the color designed will be locked in place as the two pieces of clear glass fuse together.
The following day pieces are then washed, inspected, and signed. Then they are ready to be displayed in their radiant glass gallery.
Bill Sydenstricker continued to develop his craft up until his death in 1994.
Today, all Sydenstricker pieces are still made using the exact same process that he developed in the 1960’s, and many of the original molds and designs are still in production.
Because production methods have not changed, Sydenstricker artists are often able to reproduce or match customer’s older pieces if ever a replacement piece is required.
Over the last 50 years, Sydenstricker Glass has produced thousands of different patterns, and their glass artists continue to make new pieces and patterns regularly.
New patterns as well as older patterns and retired patterns are prominently on display in the gallery.
Patterns range from their signature Embassy patterns (similar to fine lacework but in glass form), to traditional seasonal and holiday prints, and a large selection of floral and nature patterns.
Giving a nod to the seafaring surroundings of Cape Cod, they also offer many nautical and ocean life themed patterns. There are also many contemporary patterns featuring a more modern art type of design and celebrity designs such as Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe.
The public is welcome to watch and learn about this interesting art form first hand. The Sydenstricker workshop, located on the site of the gallery, is open for public walk throughs every Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., May through December.
Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The next time you are driving down scenic Route 6A on Cape Cod, be sure to check out Sydenstricker Glass Gallery and workshop. Small pieces are priced as low as under $10, making it affordable to start your own collection of this unique glass art form.