Washougal glass artist enjoys the creative process

Into the fire

Josh Hancock has a “hot” hobby — 2,150 degrees, to be exact. That is the temperature of glass when it is removed from a furnace during the glass making process.

By day, Hancock is the shop manager at his sister’s business — Autumn’s Auto Lube, in east Vancouver. During his free time, he concentrates on the art of glass blowing.

“I enjoy being in the heat — taking a liquid and turning it into anything you want to,” Hancock said. “You get to create things. It’s amazing.

“It’s controlled chaos,” he added. “It’s constantly moving, and you have to control it. It’s learning control over something. You can make anything you want out of it. It’s just fun. A lot of people have not seen it done.”

Hancock, of Washougal, has been a glass blower for 12 years.

During his sophomore year at Clark College, he switched from studying economics and accounting to concentrating on courses in glass blowing at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, in Portland.

Hancock, 32, said he received “on the job training” while working for 11 years for David Schwarz, a teacher at PNCA, who has a glass shop at his home in Ridgefield.

“He taught me all the aspects of running a studio and working with glass,” Hancock said. “I got to do a little bit of everything. It was a great learning experience.”

Hancock, a 1997 graduate of Camas High School, has also taken classes at Firehouse Glass gallery, in downtown Vancouver.

His family has been in Camas for six generations. They include his grandparents Archie and Anita Rodgers, former owners of the local Dairy Queen. Archie was the first developer on Prune Hill, building View Ridge Estates and the Ridge.

Hancock’s mother Joene is the senior driver for the Camas School District, after driving a bus for 29 years. His father Ray retired from the Camas paper mill. Five other family members have also worked at the mill.

Jimmie Rodgers, a singer, songwriter and author who became famous in the 1950s with his hit single “Honeycomb,” is Hancock’s great uncle.

Hancock has created more than 300 glass roses and other flowers for his sister’s business, Autumn’s Auto Lube, 14015 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd., in Vancouver. Each customer who purchases a full service oil change receives a glass flower this month. For more information, call 433-9611.

For additional information on Hancock, contact him at (360) 751-1213.

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