FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — After nearly four decades, Terra Studios in Northwest Arkansas has decided to stop making one of its most popular items: the “Bluebird of Happiness.” The shop could struggle to survive without its top seller.
Terra Studios is located in Fayetteville. It’s a well-known business in the area and a staple of the arts community. Glass artists make about 100 bluebirds a day at the studios. The company will stop making the birds to protect the environment.
The bluebirds represent half of the company’s income. Stopping the sale of the item will likely have a huge impact on business. People often give away the birds as Christmas gifts, at bridal showers, to favored teachers, or as a romantic gesture.
Terra Studios’ goal is to use art to create a better world.
Greenhouse gasses and glass blowing
For the last 37 years, the studio has sold more than eight-million glass bluebirds to people all around the world. It is a customary souvenir from Arkansas.
According to Terra Studios, staff use more than one-million cubic feet of natural gas to create the iconic birds. This produces a large amount of greenhouse gasses that are harmful to our planet.
Scientists argue that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current rate, global warming could cause Earth’s surface temperature to exceed historical values as early as 2047, with potentially harmful effects on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human livelihoods.
Terra Studios decided it was hypocritical to continue making the birds because it stands against their first priority: protecting the planet.
In January 2020, Terra Studios will stop production of the Bluebird of Happiness figurines.
If you have ever wanted to see one made, now is the time to head to Fayetteville before production stops.
Terra Studios released the following statement:
“Please know we are not making this decision lightly. After careful thought, consideration, countless conversations, and understanding the full financial ramifications, we believe taking action is our only option. The future is at stake!” – James Ulick, founder and board president of Using Art to Create a Better World.
“Glass blowing involves burning a lot of natural gas and electricity thereby producing a tremendous amount of greenhouse gasses that seriously threaten this marvelous earth we all share,” continued Ulick, “Therefore, Bluebird of Happiness® and all hot glass demonstrations will be suspended until the technology becomes available to create the Bluebirds without damaging our natural environment. Solutions already exist, yet are not being implemented. We urgently need to join together to bring about the changes necessary to cope with the global climate emergency.”
Bluebird of Happiness figurines symbolize health, friendship, and happiness. The glass birds have reminded people to live life to the fullest and to find contentment.
No two bluebirds are exactly alike.
Terra Studios operating hours and amenities
Terra Studios is open 7 days a week from 10:00am to 5:00pm, except on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. It also closes on days with inclement weather. The shop is located south of Lake Sequoyah Park. It’s about a 16 mile drive southeast of the University of Arkansas campus.
The studios also offer group tour packages for motor coach tours, schools, churches, civic and corporate groups, as well as private classes for groups of six or more.
The shop also sells coffee mugs, teapots, rings, vases, birdhouses, masks, dishes, rice bowls, scarves, paintings, and other items. From 11:30am to 4:30pm daily you can watch glass artisans make the famous Bluebirds.
Every part of the gallery building is handcrafted: the carved entry door, the floor tiles, and the delicate light fixtures. The Terra Studios Gallery building is a collaborative effort among artists.
There is also the Terra Studios Café. It offers savories, quiches, lasagna, sandwiches, and desserts made by local chefs. The locally roasted Arsaga’s coffee is popular among locals.
Private classes at Terra Studios include lessons on how to build clay turtles, small clay dragons, clay unicorns, fairy houses, heart trays, drawing flowers, and other practices.