You never know what you’ll find on Fanø island. On Nordby’s main road, a pretty house with coloured windows hides at the back of a small courtyard. This is where glass blower Charlotte La Cour lives and works.
Despite what her name might suggest, Charlotte is definitely Danish and only speaks a little French learned during her travels. She has been a glass blower for 20 years, 16 of which have been on Fanø.
The first things you see when entering her boutique/workshop are the large glass-making furnaces. The largest and hottest is 1130° and stays lit around the clock because it takes an entire week to bring it up to the right temperature. She only turns it off when she goes on holiday.
She gets her glass from the United States in small, ice cube-sized blocks. She melts these in the large furnace and the molten glass turns honey-coloured.
Ronja, her daughter and assistant, uses a large rod to collect a bubble of melted glass that Charlotte kneads and forms into the desired shape. Sometimes she dips it in coloured powder derived from sand, or in crushed glass. Both of them use their long hollow rods to move the molten glass in and out of the furnaces.
It looks like a complicated dance, with each of their moves precisely organised and choreographed. Occasionally, Charlotte blows into her rod, which lengthens the glass bubble and gives it a more cylindrical shape. The powders placed inside the glass create spiral galaxies in the material. “Glass is alive, moving, running all the time. It’s funny to think about it.” It’s fascinating to watch her flatten, pull, cut, hollow, and spread the glass
Once she finishes the object, Charlotte puts it in the cooling furnace, which is still 500°C, where it slowly cools all day long. At night, she turns this furnace off so the object can continue cooling before it’s moved to the store shelves. Kristiane takes over in the boutique, welcoming clients, making sales, and packing the fragile objects. The shelves are filled with bowls, glasses, candlesticks, vases, jars, and jewellery in all shapes and sizes. Each object is unique. Charlotte’s hand and breath never create the same piece twice.
It’s the same with the stories of her European hitch-hiking or truck adventures that she enjoys sharing with us. If you ever have the chance, cross her courtyard and you will also be enchanted by her art and her smile.
Charlotte La Cour
Landevejen 60, Sønderho 6720 Fanø, Denmark
[On the road, at the 55°20’58.0″N and 8°28’02.4″E]