Ryan Teurfs was Born in Houston, Texas in 1973. Ryan’s family relocated to Oakland, California when he was the age of 3 and to Korea from ages 5 to 8. Eventually his family settled near Huntington Beach, California where he spent his youth at the beach surfing and skate boarding. Ryan relocated to Humboldt County for his last year of high school in 1991. Ryan embraced the Humboldt lifestyle and quickly became an Arcata local, he stayed in Humboldt for 20 years. In the early 90’s Ryan managed the town 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 he began the demanding journey becoming a self-taught glassblower in his backyard shed.
Through years of hard work, Ryan built and refined a set of glassblowing skills that were creative and time effective; his style was production oriented but 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 his business of 101North. Over the years 101 North grew to become one of the largest manufacturing companies of its kind and expanded to support over 50 people including dozens of glassblowers Ryan personally trained. As business continued to grow, they launched a year-long road sales campaign across America and opened up a glass blowing supply retail outlet, The Glass House, which still remains in business today. In 2003 101 North Glass Inc. was shut down by Operation Pipe Dreams, a nationwide investigation targeting businesses associated with glass paraphernalia. All assets were seized, Ryan and his two business partners were incarcerated and prosecuted by the US District Attorny’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 as part of 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. Their relationship grew and they fell in love. 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. In 2013, Ryan and Brenna married, continuing a wonderful relationship of over 20 years.
It was at west county glass, around 2014, that his obsession with millefiori and murrine drove him to produce the unique style of honeycomb used today. Ryan was drawn to extreme precision he was able to achieve from this style of glassblowing and began an ongoing passion, driven for the need to achieve impossible perfection. During 2016 he took on apprentice Justin Zimmerman and a short time later cold-worker Andrew Benson. Ryan trained both new team members himself; Justin and Benson picked up skills quickly and became integral parts in Ryan’s honeycomb journey.
Over the next several years a unique and effective team dynamic emerged, many of the projects produced during this time were the result of the ideas, skills, and labor of the combined efforts of Ryan, Justin, and Benson. In 2021 the partnership, Ryan Teurfs Designs, was created to recognize the immense teamwork it takes to produce many of the honeycomb products that have been shared with the world. With the formation of this new partnership we aim to expand our current product lines, create new and beautiful honeycomb designs and share a bit more about ourselves and daily shop life. Thank you so much for love and support over the last several years, this is the beginning of new journey that will last for years to come.