Charity Archer creates cremation pendants, other pieces
BIG RAPIDS — After experiencing the loss of both her parents, Big Rapids resident Charity Archer looked for the best way to memorialize them, turning to glass pendants as her answer.
Now the owner and artist of her in-home business, Creative Chaos Glass, she hopes to create a personal experience for her customers through her own art work.
“I do cremation memorial pendants that I involve the person who is requesting the pendant made,” Archer said. “They can come to my studio and be a part of the style, color, size and shape. I give them a special pair of glasses, they sit to my left, they watch me handle the remains, and they get to actually watch the piece being made. It goes in the kiln overnight, and they get to bring it home the next day.”
Archer said she began this after researching online her own options for memorializing her parents and discovering that she’d have to ship the remains away. She wasn’t comfortable with that idea and looked to a local artist for help.
“I reached out to Derek from Burning Scent-Sations, and he made some pendants for me and allowed me to watch, and I went home with a fistful of soft glass,” she said. “It took about a month to figure out how to make a bead with a propane torch here in my kitchen, and I just progressed from there.”
Never having lessons in glass blowing, Archer said she owes a lot to the Facebook group, Torch Talk, headed by Mike Mason, where about 20,000 glass blowers world wide get together to share information and new techniques about their shared passion.
“The glass blowing community has completely evolved and changed to where we share our information with each other freely now, and that is something that I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I do without Torch Talk and without meeting and spending time with other artists,” she said.
As well as creating memorial pieces, Archer makes regular pendants, marbles, pipes, sculptures, and Christmas ornaments.
Her favorite part of her job, however, is watching new art come to life.
“Glass is such an amazing substance,” she said. “It has so many forms, and it’s such a cool medium to work with. I love glass.”
Discovering her sculpting capabilities in 2019 after creating her first flamingo, Archer also enjoys the challenges she faces when asked to make something out of her comfort level.
“I just really love attempting to recreate nature … I just love to stretch my comfort zone,” she said. “The most fun for me is learning through my failures. Failures are like my best friend. If I don’t fail, then I don’t know where I need to grow, and that’s some of the magic of glass blowing is that I’m always pushing my boundaries.”
“I’m always expanding on what I think I know, and if something seems too difficult, the journey of overcoming that fear — it’s just magical,” she added.
Turning her husband, Ted’s, pull barn into her in-home studio, Archer said she is looking forward to the new year as she prepares to offer one-on-one lessons, beginning in January.
“(It’s) $75 for the first two hours and you’ll get to make a pendant and you’ll get to understand how to use a torch. I will provide all the tools and safety glasses and you’ll have a two-hour lesson,” she said.
From learning to memorialize loved ones to overcoming fear to soon teaching others to art of glass blowing, Archer said none of it would’ve been possible without the support from her husband, family and friends.
“I have the most amazing support system,” she said. “My friends and family have supported me all along when I was making horrible, crooked, janky, messed up things, and my family and friends have supported and encouraged me all along.”
For more information on Archer and her creations, follow @creativechaosmemorialglass on Facebook or Creative.Chaos.Charity.Archer on Instagram.
Archer is also available by phone at 231-287-7590 and can be seen selling her products at the Big Rapids Farmers Market from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays.