RhPAP’s Rhapsody Program celebrates rural health excellence in Alberta. So, we needed an award that excelled too. We also wanted it to be created rurally.
Our search led us to Black Diamond, Alberta. There, in a backyard, not far from the squash, and right next to the chicken coup, we found our artisan: Julia Reimer of Firebrand Glass Studio.
“We’re the people you come to if you want something really complicated and beautiful made.” Julia Reimer, glassblower
Julia, a full-time glass blower, has been making beautiful glass works for 20 years.
Julia says, “We’re the people you come to if you want something really complicated and beautiful made.”
We asked Julia to incorporate elements from our logo into the design of the Rhapsody Award. Those elements included the Three Sisters mountains, the green of the grain elevator, the yellow of the sun and the blue of our name.
After designing the award on paper, she begins production.
First, Julia fires up the furnace to 1400˚celsius.
“So, that takes about 5 days for the furnace to heat up to get to melting glass temperature,” Julia explains. “And then we make little flakes of coloured glass and toss those into the glass furnace, take a big ladle, it’s almost like a big metal spoon, and scoop it up and then pour it into the graphite mold”
Once the molten glass is in the mold, Julia’s assistants, Ramona from Strathmore, and Zou from Montreal, take turns using a torch to keep the glass smooth as it starts to cool.
Next, the Rhapsody award goes from the graphite mold to a kiln, where it’s slowly cooled to room temperature. That takes about 15 hours. If the glass cools too quickly, it will crack.
The RhPAP logo and other text will be sandblasted in later by another artisan.
“It’s really meaningful for me to create these awards because you know, living in a rural community, we have an awesome doctor,” Julia Reimer
Julia lives a short walk away from the Oilfields General Hospital in Black Diamond, which comes in handy when you’re working with molten glass.
“It’s really meaningful for me to create these awards because you know, living in a rural community, we have an awesome doctor,” says Julia. “We have a hospital that’s just behind the hill and you know, I feel so lucky. Sometimes, we have an accident. We burn ourselves. We can walk up the hill and get outstanding health care.”
It’s nice to know that Julia shares our appreciation for rural health care, and the finished product looks amazing!
There are three different awards: RhPAP blue for the Rhapsody Physician Award, grain elevator green for the Rhapsody Community Award and sunshine gold for Rhapsody Health-care Heroes Award.
Outstanding Alberta craftsmanship for outstanding performance in health care.
Thanks Julia and team for all your hard work!