About the Artists
Who We Are
For the past 30 years, Hanscomb Glass Studio has believed that its business is built on personal ethics, integrity, expertise, professionalism and in dealing with our customers fairly and honestly. We are committed to creating and maintaining beautiful glass work for people to enjoy and a consistency of design and high quality craftsmanship has become the hallmark of the work we do here. While the design and fabrication of new custom and commissioned windows is the focus for the work that comes off the benches- we do enjoy creating both functional and ornamental glass work that is available through our studio storefront.
Understanding that glass itself is not art- it is what we do with it that turns a common and ubiquitous material such as glass into the creative finished work we produce. Much of what we create is made from up-cycled or repurposed float glass diverted from post-consumer or commercial sources. We design specifically for this glass and for ways to creatively use it because this material is not readily reused, repurposed or recycled in any other way.
Our studio is located in a healthy, active, creative community that has encouraged and supported it since the doors opened in 1983. In appreciation we do our best to be engaged with this community. We support social issues and environmental causes and work successfully with many clubs, groups, institutions and organisations.
Neil was born in Leicester, England and immigrated to Canada with his family at age three. In his younger years he travelled back and forth between the two countries spending his last school years in Bristol. In 1980 Neil moved to Calgary, Alberta where he enrolled in a fine woodwork apprenticeship. His passion for glass was initially inspired by a 7 month road trip around the US. Neil noticed a significant amount of glasswork in his travels which motivated a shift in his focus from wood to glass. In the fall of 1983 Neil left Calgary and started a glass studio in Fergus, Ontario. In 1984 he was joined by Gisela Ruehe and finally in 1986 the pair moved the studio to the artist community of Elora. During the late eighties Neil studied at Pilchuck Glass School near Seattle and at the Banff Centre for the Arts with world renowned German artist Johannes Schreiter. Schreiter was a significant aspect to the development of Neil’s personal glass design style. After his studies, and travelling to Germany to see glass works in Europe, Neil began to develop his stained glass to a non-traditional, contemporary style. Colour became almost obsolete at Hanscomb Glass as Neil enjoys playing with texture and light involved with clear glass. Neil's strength lies in innovative contemporary design and his devotion for heritage stained glass and its preservation. His work can be found in private, public, commercial and ecclesiastical spaces throughout Ontario and beyond. Neil is an autodidact, and this is very much present throughout his life. He is an avid traveller, a self taught sailor, a certified solo diver and dive master. When he is not at the studio, Neil can be found zipping around Ontario lakes in his sailboat.
Gisela was born and grew up in Münster,Germany. Her early love of travel and adventurous spirit lead her to take a gap year in 1982 to Calgary, Alberta where she met Neil. In 1984, she immigrated to Canada and joined Neil who had started the glass studio. Gisela is the force behind the day to day developments and operations at the studio. She is also an accomplished flameworking glass artist and in the winter months she can be found behind the torches, twisting, pulling, and creating some of the beautiful and original Hanscomb Glass ornaments. Despite being incredibly diligent and hardworking throughout the year, Gisela always makes sure she takes the time to connect back with her roots in Germany. These visits are often inclusive of week long bike tours across her home continent. Neil and Gisela are firm believers in self development to maintain inspiration and passion for their work. This means that they will be travelling for a number of weeks through the year to new and distant places. Travelling has allowed the pair to develop many unique and innovative aspects to Hanscomb Glass. When she is not travelling, Gisela manages the regular business operations at the studio and running the store. She is a very active member of the Elora community so there is always a chance to see her at local events or riding her red bike around town.
Silvia is an accomplished hot glass artist who trained at Sheridan College. She works part-time in our studio to assist Gisela with flame-working.Silvia is currently working towards creating a studio, completing a new body of work with support from the Ontario Arts Council, and making time for research and travel with award money from Craft Ontario. Be sure to see her jewellery and flame-blown ornaments, including our very popular chubby birds!
Julie is one of our flame working artists. She creates stunning beads and jewellery pieces that are truly tiny works of art. Layering and manipulating colours, textures and transparencies, she is able to make whimsical beaded jewellery for any occasion. She makes these both at her own home studio and here at Hanscomb Glass between her shifts as a pilot with a Canadian air company.