From recycled glass — to artful dishware

By Jessica George
Flapjack Chronicle staff

John McClurg of Fire and Light.

When one thinks of Humboldt State University, they think the slogan “Going Green.”  Not only is HSU known for being a leader with waste reduction, but so is its local college town of Arcata. However, this didn’t just happen over night.  The Arcata Recycling Center has been recycling for 40 years and up until recently it was the oldest in the nation.
Back then, because it was the only recycling center in northern California, everything that was recycled had to be shipped out of the area, which wasn’t cheap.
Thirty local Arcadians got together to brainstorm how to save money and what to do with some recyclables.
Fire and Light, a company that takes recycled glass bottles and transforms them into reusable hand blown glass, was born.
For the past 16 years, Fire and Light has put on a charity event where all items are marked down and a certain amount is donated to KEET TV.
“We’ve donated to KEET the last three or four years,” CEO John McClurg explained.
“My wife and I support local television and always try and give back to the community.”
“Our first sale was in 1996 where we started out with just one table, and today we had more than one thousand people here,”  McClurg stated.
There were roughly 75 tables set up in the Arcata Community Center Saturday, Oct. 13. They were filled with a vast variety of colorful, shiny glass objects such as hearts and bowls.
“I’ve owned Fire and Light items for the last few years and I keep coming back to this event, whether it’s to buy or just look,”  Jamie Kendrick, a long time customer said.  “The products never disappoint and are always so pretty to look at.”
“A lot of my friends compliment me on my Fire and Light bowls,” she added.
The process to get these pretty glass products isn’t an easy one though.
“From start to finish it takes two and a half days,”  said McClurg.  It starts with clear bottled glass (usually bought from a recycling center) and after its crushed and weighed, minerals are added to get all the different colors.  At 4:30 every afternoon the process begins of heating, molding, texturizing and shaping the glass through a furnace that reaches all the way up to 2400 degrees.  After the glass is cooled and ready, a quality control inspector inspects the glass items and boxes them up so that they’re ready to be shipped wherever there final destination is.
“Many people are involved and put in hard work everyday to create such beautiful creations,” said McClurg.
At Fire and Light, they’re proud of their product and encourage everyone to join their annual event.
To find out more about Fire and Light, visit its website,


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