Some colors are currently suspended from production while we acquire, install, and test new equipment. These colors are made with cadmium (used for bright yellows, oranges, and reds) and chromium (used for greens). We plan to have an additional furnace for making cadmium glasses in early June, and we also plan to have the ability to produce glasses containing chromium in early August, at which time the required controls will be in place and functioning.
This is happening at the same time that Spectrum Glass has been forced to announce that they are shutting their doors at the end of July 2016. Apparently the biggest factor has been economic.
Market factors have played the most significant role. Our facility was built to support product demand at the height of art glass movement, but our sales never fully recovered following the Great Recession. We have watched our sales dwindle dramatically to only 40 percent of production capacity, while overhead expenses have continued to increase. Our consistently reduced levels of sales simply cannot cover the fixed costs required to operate a facility of our size.
What this means for the glass art community in the long run is yet to be seen. Short term many studios will be caught off guard as their favorite source of affordable blowing glass (Spectrum Studio Nuggets) will be difficult (or impossible) to acquire. There are rumors that Olympic Color Rods is trying to step in and fill the gap, with inquiries into alternate vendors to keep the system going (System 96). It’s also rumored that Uroboros will be picking up colors that Spectrum was melting, but Uroboros is definitely more expensive than Spectrum, even though they’ve been working together on the System 96 line for years. Hopefully this doesn’t mark the end of an age. It would be a shame if Bullseye remained the only compatible glass system out there.