Photos by Garrick Ramirez and Annieglass
While Watsonville has become a recent hub for independent artisans, a pioneer of its burgeoning craft scene is Annie Morhauser who founded her Annieglass glassware studio amidst the town’s sprawling agriculture fields in 1983. Today, her luminous pieces are featured at high profile hotels and retailers-Four Seasons, Neiman Marcus, the Bellagio in Las Vegas-and two of her pieces are on permanent display at the Smithsonian. Yet, each elegant piece continues to be handmade here in Santa Cruz County. Here are three reasons to visit this spring, as well as a chance to win a free experience at Annieglass’ fun and innovative Craftbar!
#1: Marvel at artful glassware handcrafted in Santa Cruz County
Annieglass’ lustrous glass tableware are functional pieces of art. Offered in a range of styles-from classic to contemporary-Morhauser is constantly expanding her offerings with new pieces each year. Since her start, she’s been lured to produce her pieces offshore, yet Annieglass remains proudly in Watsonville. The company’s pieces are distributed throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia, yet, you’ll find the largest selection at retail shop located at the Watsonville HQ. Seasoned shoppers take note: the retail shop also features a great selection of seconds that are available at a considerable discount.
#2: Go behind the scenes on a free studio tour
The public is welcome to join a free tour of the Annieglass production studio every Thursday through Sunday at 1:30 p.m. (reservations are recommended, but walk-ins are welcome). The 20-minute tour details the fascinating art of glassmaking and the creation of Annieglass pieces, from design influence to production. You’ll also learn about the company’s genuine sustainability efforts which include energy efficient practices, biodegradable packaging, and zero waste goals. And the next generation of women in Annie’s family have taken the lead to ensure the dedication to integrity, sustainable, and compassionate practices continue for years to come.
For example, all Annieglass scrap glass is re-melted into the Elements collection of trivets and trays. The watery green color and ghostlike effect of the many melted pieces of glass fusing together has made this collection a favorite of all generations. Annie’s creative approach to reuse is so unique that it is awaiting a design patent. By reusing scrap glass the studio is able to maintain near zero waste goals by avoiding using landfills and consciously utilizes green practices in every step of production.
#3: You can sip-and shape-at the Craftbar
Tucked between the factory and retail shop, the Craftbar is an atmospheric, light-strung tasting room where visitors can sample local craft beers and wines. Every Thursday through Sunday, from 12:00 – 4:30 p.m., you can pop in for a glass or a flight, and purchase a favorite bottle to take home. The Craftbar also functions as a workshop space for a variety of crafting classes available to the public (see a list of upcoming events here). Join fellow makers-in-training as you sip local pinots and craft a hand painted leather wallet, create a succulent arrangement, or design your own glass plate with Annie herself!
Plus, as part of our Let’s Cruz Vacation Giveaway, you can win a free Craftbar experience for you and three of your pals! It’s one of the many, uniquely Santa Cruz activities offered with our Grand Prize which includes a two-night stay at Seascape Beach Resort, four tickets to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, four passes to Roaring Camp Railroads, and four activities of your choice. In addition to the Annieglass Craftbar, the winner will choose from activities such as kayaking, surf lessons, spa treatments, whale watching, and more!
Plus, in addition to the Grand Prize, we’ll be offering additional Boardwalk and Roaring Camp tickets and a few mini vacation contests on the Visit Santa Cruz Facebook page, so be sure to follow! Our customizable vacation giveaway runs through May 31, 2019, and can be entered here!