Ingo and Julie Doetsch are self-taught artisans who have their home and studio on their rural property at the end of an unpaved road in central New Brunswick. Ingo was born in Germany in 1943 and immigrated to the United States in 1949. He attended DePauw University in Indiana, majoring in chemistry with a minor in math, went on to earn a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of North Carolina and subsequently came to the University of Victoria in 1970 as a post-doctoral fellow. After a period of time in British Columbia he continued his post-doctoral work at the University of New Brunswick. Ingo's university experience included many hours spent in the technical glass shop where much of his research equipment was fabricated. His early fascination with the craft of the technical glass blowers he observed served as an early introduction into the medium he would come to explore firsthand.
Julie, from St. Louis, Missouri, attended Southeast Missouri State University where she majored in biology. After several years of working with Masters and Johnson at the Reproductive Biology Research Foundation in St. Louis, she enrolled in a Ph.D. program in reproductive endocrinology at the Medical College of Georgia. It was during this time that she met Ingo. With images of Thoreau's Walden Pond in mind, and a desire to embrace a simpler lifestyle, she joined him in rural New Brunswick and they soon found themselves dividing their time building a home, gardening, maintaining a woodlot, tending animals , raising sons and beginning a stained glass business.
Today, the boys are men, gardening is a hobby rather than a necessity, and time once spent mucking out the barn by the light of a kerosene lantern is now passed pursuing activities which, if not always more pleasant, can at least be said to be better lit. The studio, begun in an outbuilding with only a glass cutter and propane fueled soldering iron for equipment, now houses facilities for sandblasting, wheel engraving, glass sawing and polishing and, most recently, kilnworking. The feverish and sometimes daunting necessity for earning money to support a family is now being replaced by the excitement that comes with learning new techniques, rising to new challenges and opening the kiln in the morning to see what delight or disaster has been wrought from the combination of imagination, heat, gravity and coloured glass.
In 2005, Ingo and Julie Doetsch were the recipients of the Oudemans Christmas Choice Award for their line of slubbed glass dishes. Slumping is a technique where pieces of glass are laid on a mould and subjected to heat. As the glass melts it takes the form of the mould. What makes the Doetsch's so exceptional are the complex patterns they achieve, frequently with iridescent glass, which produces spectacular pieces, as well as showing an exceptional control of the medium.