First stop would be at a place called Wheat Montana in Three Forks. I was able to pick up a five pound sack of oat groats for less than $5! Simple pleasures! Breakfast for weeks!
Next stop would be in Townsend - there is a hot glass studio called Goose Bay Handblown Glass, owned by Jim & Terry Gunderson. They have a gallery set up in the front & the glassblowing in the back, with chairs set up so you can watch them work. I had a lovely visit - they even invited me to blow a piece of glass! Needless to say I was pretty excited! Its one of those things I don't like to go too long without doing, it was such a pleasure to work in their shop. The glory hole doors are some of the best I've seen. They open vertically via a handcrank - very easy to adjust and control. This feature is also great because it allows for a variable size opening depending on what you are making, and it looks like a fiery eye!
On to Helena! Archie Bray is a little outside of town, a series of buildings - some occupied, some not, with a beautiful mountainous backdrop. It is "'a place to make available for all who are seriously and sincerely interested in any of the branches of ceramic arts, a fine place to work.' Its primary mission is to provide an environment that stimulates creative work in ceramics." The artists in residence are there for two years! What a dream.
Alanna DeRocchi, Nicholas Bivens & Sean O'Connell. Small world Alanna and I have mutual friends - I tend to run into that often within the glass & ceramic world. Our visit there was really inspiring to me, it is a very peaceful place, with the evidence of over half a century of creative energy floating around. Here is an album of the visit.
Stopped off at Blackfoot River Brewing Company for a quick one on the way home.