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Artist Makes "Custom" Tractors Out Of Glass
Hummingbirds and roses may be mainstays for most glass blowers, but Larry Hodgson has discovered there’s a market for tractors made out of glass.
  Every Christmas season, the Minnesota artist sets up at a busy shopping mall to demonstrate and sell blown glass pieces. A couple years ago, he also set up there for Mother’s Day when an antique tractor show happened to be held nearby. He saw an opportunity and started making tractors. Sales were good, and he quickly learned one thing. “Farmers like lots of details on the tractors,” he says.
  With a couple of Ertl models and customer photos, he was able to add battery boxes, engines, hitches, the right kind of seats and even dents like the ones on a customer’s tractor.
  Hodgson takes custom orders and requests five photos from every angle to get the details right. Prior to shows, he makes parts – steering wheels, tires, etc. He keeps them warm in a glass blower’s kiln “garage” while he makes the chassis, then adds the parts to the still-warm chassis. Hodgson paints the bodies with stain and tires and other parts with enamel paints.
  He makes tractors in four sizes based on the size of the back tires: $15 (1-in.), $28 (2-in.), $60 (3-in.), and $150 (4-in.). He also makes a tractor oil lamp that can be filled with any color oil the customer chooses for $60 including a funnel and permanent wick. He regularly ships through the mail or UPS.
  “Glass is not as fragile a medium as you think. Everything can be fixed,” Hodgson says, noting he rarely breaks any of his work when he packs it up for the many art shows, harvest festivals and the Minnesota Renaissance Festival that he attends each year.
  So far, the most challenging tractor he’s made was a large MTA Super Farmall with 4 to 5-in. rear wheels. He likes the challenge of custom orders, such as a Deere 3010 tractor with adaptations for a farmer with disabilities.
  Windmills that stand about 3 ft. tall are another popular item with rural buyers. Hodgson has one in his home that even squeaks like a real windmill when it spins.
  He also makes cars, semis and will try most any idea customers suggest.
  “Just when you think you’ve made everything, someone asks for something new,” he says with a laugh.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Larry Hodgson, Renaissance Glass, P.O. Box 211, Minnesota Lake, Minn. 56068 (ph 507 462-3870; larrytheglassguy@gmail.com).

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2012 - Volume #36, Issue #4