Topher Reynolds is a man with a plan. “I want every marble maker, collector and hunter to want to be in Humboldt County every February,” he declares from his studio in Eureka’s Old Town, where he and other artists create a range of inventive glass works.
Distinguishing itself from traditional gaming marbles, contemporary marble making is an intricate art with a strong following in Humboldt County, California, dating back to the 1960’s. Alongside the Emerald Triangle’s cannabis industry, glass pipes are a sought-after art here in Humboldt, and have opened the door for the emergence of marble-making over the last several decades. Contemporary marbles are painstakingly crafted with highly intricate patterns, and some are worth upwards of $10,000 each.
Contemporary marble shows have a niche international following that Reynolds knows well. Since 2007, he’s been making and exhibiting glass in many forms, and his passion lies with marbles, in particular. He runs Copious Glass and the Glass Garage Studio in Eureka and is deeply invested in the community that supports his practice. “I’ve never lived anywhere that supports the arts the way Humboldt County does,” he says.
The first Humboldt Marble Weekend ran in 2018 and has grown into the largest gathering of marble artists and collectors in Northern California.
This year, from Feb 9-11, Reynolds and the glass community will present three days of art, marble hunting, cash prizes, and the talents of over 30 glass artists and hundreds of collectors from across the country.
Here’s what to expect:
Friday, February 9: Marble Makers Ball
Free event from 6-9 pm at Glass Garage Studio – 215 C Street in Eureka
Saturday, February 10 and Sunday, February 11: Live demonstrations
$5 entry fee from 10 am – 5 pm at Wharfinger Building, the Glass Garage, and John Gibbons Glass
Sunday, February 11: Massive Marble and Scavenger Hunt
Free event, sponsored by Eureka Lodging Alliance, starts at Noon at Clark Plaza – 3rd and E Streets in Eureka
Show attendees can also participate in the People’s Choice Awards, voting for their favorite glass artist and giving them a chance to win cash prizes of $2,000, $1,000, and $750. The Eureka Lodging Alliance Tourist Prize also provides an opportunity for those staying at hotels and motels within Eureka city limits to win cash prizes, with a $2,000 Grand Prize, two $1,000 Second Place prizes, and two $500 Third Place prizes up for grabs. Only one entry per room is allowed, with qualifying attendees entered into a random drawing after the show.
For more information on the hunt and the show, visit www.humboldtmarbleweekend.com. Come for the marbles, and stay to explore the beaches, old-growth redwood forests, and rugged coastlines behind Humboldt County’s “Redwood Curtain.” You can learn more and start planning your trip at www.visiteureka.com.
Photography by Alan Workman