Your Green Life: "Glamorous Glass"

By KBJR News 1

August 4, 2010 Updated Aug 4, 2010 at 3:16 PM CDT

More than 20 years ago, one Northland man left his job as a forester and park manager.

He still works under the sunlight...but in his own studio.

His artwork is fragile, but it's sending a powerful message about the value of what's getting tossed in the trash.

Meteorologist Shannon Murphy explains in, "Your Green Life."

Motivation for an artist can spring from anywhere.

"Where I live here... I can just look outside and there's inspiration all around us... the shapes of the trees... when the snow blows in the winter, the shapes the drifts make," said Mike Tonder, of Blue Skies Glassworks.

Mike Tonder conveys his artistic image by sculpting with recycled glass.

"In some ways, it is saving companies money because they don't have to pay for disposal, but on the other hand, it is easier to just throw a brick through the window and shovel it in the dumpster than it is to take it out in one piece and carry it around," said Tonder.

His current project is keeping him busy turning an old window pane into these one–of–kind bowls.

"They are going to be made from a sheet of glass that was pulled out of the North Shore Horizons building when Women in Construction remodeled it this last year," said Tonder.

"Even though they are coming out of the same form, each one is unique and seems to have a constant appeal to me. I don't get tired of making these. What I do is cut each of the pieces.... And although it's clear, you can see when you look to the side you get this nice blue color, and that's what's going to give the glass its color," added Tonder.

The walls of the studio are lined with blue sky inspired work, whose elements were given a new life.

"Reuse is even more important than recycling, and I think we need to focus on reusing materials that we have already spent a fair amount of energy to develop and not just use them once and throw them away," said Tonder.

In Two Harbors, meteorologist Shannon Murphy, the Northlands NewsCenter.

One of the projects that you may find Mike Tonder working on over the next few weeks.... The BearGrease Sled Marathon Awards.