Ryan Teurfs was Born in Houston Texas in 1973. At the age of 3, his family relocated to Oakland California and then to Korea from ages 5 to 8. They eventually settled near Huntington Beach California where Ryan spent his youth at the beach surfing and skate boarding. Relocating to Humboldt County for his last year of high school in 1991, Ryan embraced the Humboldt lifestyle and quickly became an Arcata local.
In the early 90’s Ryan managed the local head shop, Pacific Paradise, and was introduced to borosilicate glass art - mainly in the form of glass pipes. Seeing the demand for such art and lack of reliable supply, Ryan parted ways with retail, purchased his first torch and some raw materials and began the demanding journey of becoming a self-taught glassblower in his backyard shed.
Through years of hard work, Ryan built and refined a set of flame working skills that were creative and time effective. His style, though production oriented, reflected the mesmerizing qualities that glass media provides. The techniques Ryan established not only made him successful but paved the way for future glassblowers. He trained family, friends and interested acquaintances to blow glass his way as he built and expanded a well-known glass pipe production company, 101 North Glass (1996-2003).
In only six short years, 101 North grew to become one of the largest manufacturing companies of its kind and expanded to employ over 50 people including dozens of glassblowers Ryan personally trained. A local success story, 101 North Glass Inc. was forced to shut down by Operation Pipe Dreams, a nationwide investigation targeting businesses associated with glass paraphernalia. All assets were seized and Ryan was incarcerated and prosecuted by the US District Attorney’s office.
Ryan spent the months during and following the court trial picking up the pieces, paying off subsequent debt and ensuring his former employees received benefits all while serving house arrest and serving on the board for Habitat for Humanity to fulfill his community service. When the dust settled, Ryan returned to his torch and spent the next several years diving into research and development and redefining his artistry, making anything but pipes to support himself. He taught classes and continued serving his community well beyond his mandate.
In 2008 he was re-joined by a close friend and former 101 North office manager, Brenna Byrne. For the next two years they operated Blackstone Glass, a small scale wholesale production business based out of their garage selling Ryan’s handblown glass art to retail shops across the country. In 2010, they relocated to Sebastopol, California and built West County Glass, a boutique flameworking studio where inspiration and collaboration in glass continues to thrive among the local glass artists who call it home.
It was at West County Glass circa 2014, that Ryan’s obsession with millefiori and murrine inspired him to develop a new technique for making honeycomb cane. Drawn to the extreme precision he was able to achieve from this style of glassblowing, an ongoing passion began with a mission to achieve impossible pattern perfection. In 2016 Ryan trained an apprentice, Justin Zimmerman and a cold-worker, Andrew Benson. Picking up the skills quickly they became integral parts of his artistic and technical journey making honeycomb murine.
Over the next several years a unique and effective team dynamic emerged. Much of Ryan’s glass work produced during this era was the result of the ideas, skills, labor and combined efforts of Ryan, Justin and Benson. To recognize this teamwork, in 2021, Ryan Teurfs Designs was created. The formation of this partnership marks the beginning of a new adventure rooted in the love and support of Ryan’s customers and collectors from around the globe. We hope to continue to spark interest as we aim high to expand our current product lines, create new honeycomb designs and share more about ourselves and daily shop life.