A story of ornament creation, natural element selection and the start of a business idea.
Envie Glas was founded in 2018, its origins and cultural beginnings have been in the making since 1989. Pamela Choquette, co-owner and artistic designer of Envie Glas, created the first ornament — an old-world, folk-art style Santa carved out of a twig back in 1989. She fell in love with carving and using natural materials to create Christmas decorations. Since then, she's created hundreds of pieces ranging from plush toys to simple sachets using various materials including pinecones, dried flowers, bird's nests and other forest materials.
Because of her love of Christmas and the iconic symbol of the season, Pamela focused on creating Santa-themed decorations for nearly 30 years. Inspired by her family's Great North Woods 533 acre farm, Pamela broadened her artistic offerings and created rustic, woodland floral arrangements for weddings, corporate, and special events while continuing to create every type of Christmas decoration imaginable including wreaths, garlands and swags.
Using nature's abundant supply of materials has been an important part to Pamela's design process. "Natural elements have always inspired me," explains Pamela. "I love the transformation that happens. Bird's nests can be clothing, a santa’s hat or a basket; pinecones become arms, legs and bodies; feathers and dried flowers offer texture, splashes of color and a softness that can be seen and felt." She's also used sheep wool and recycled old fur collars and is continually mindful and respectful of the animal that gave its life. "Nature is life in all its forms; it’s an extravagant revelation of creation given by the Master Designer whose desire is to show His children His love and how to live. That transformation is an integral part in how I create and develop my designs."
So how did all this creativity, crafting and carving develop into a business? "I've always wanted a business centered around my creations," said Pamela. "My retirement created a more immediate timeframe and my sister's call to action made it a reality." Pamela's sister and co-owner of Envie Glas, Dianne Austin, has an extensive business and marketing background and knew her sister's art and their combined passion for Christmas traditions could translate into a business. "We've had numerous requests to recreate one of my sister's original carved ornaments but didn't have the ability to duplicate the exact same piece," explains Dianne. "Due to our love of European, old-world hand-blown glass ornaments, it only made sense to use this beautiful medium for Pam's creations."
Pamela believes there's no other medium like hand-blown glass whose roots and rich history speaks directly to family traditions, emotions and the celebration of gift giving. "The history of European ornament creation started with hand crafted pieces, painted and decorated by hard-working folk with unbelievable artistic skill," said Pamela. "They recognized the importance of design and were able to create true works of art in spare moments of their simple lives. These artisans were devoutly spiritual and connected to their religious beliefs and these symbols were a direct representation of their commitment to family traditions. I've always felt a strong tie to those cultural roots and authenticity, and my pieces will always begin with that in mind."
Pamela's design aesthetic primarily follows a rustic, woodland-theme and Envie Glas will offer that style in their signature pieces. However, after researching the market here in the States and being inspired by a trip to Christmasworld in Germany this year, their product offering will have far more diversity than just Pamela's original style. "We believe family traditions and keepsakes should be seen and displayed year-round. Why end the warm feelings and reminiscing of cherished memories when you put your Christmas ornaments and decorations away each year?" states Dianne. "We want families to express their lifestyles, cultural traditions and connections to their own personal stories every day. Of course, Envie Glas will create the traditional Christmas-inspired ornaments but we'll also offer elegant, modern ornaments with an industrial edge, and decorations that will beautify homes and continually bring warmth, nostalgia and a reminder of those connections throughout the year."
Pamela and Dianne's determination and core mission for Envie Glas is to maintain the integrity and artistic skill and passion for excellence for European Glas products and to uphold those who strive to keep its traditions and historical values alive.
For Pamela and Dianne, Christmas was always special in their house. Their mother had many European glass ornaments of her own which she cherished and delicately placed on the tree each year. Their father was a master builder and military veteran and always made Christmas special for his family. Envie Glas signature ornaments and other decor offerings will reflect all that Pamela and Dianne hold dear. They are excited to extend the warmth and joy of their family and encourage other families all over the world to celebrate their own customs and traditions with expressions of art, honor and symbolism. However it may translate via a unique and precious glass ornament, Envie Glas will always provide authentic European glass pieces for home decor and life celebrations.