Our Story

Creation is Messy was founded in 2006 with the mission to build a line of 104 compatible colors to expand your lampworking palette. We are a Portland based company producing glass lampworking rods in China. Currently we produce Messy Color™ glass color products. We have been involved in the glass industry for twenty years in various capacities.

Kathy, Dana, Zoe, & Zachary
Kathy, Dana, Zoe & Zachary
We produce at a small, privately owned factory in China where we work closely with the production and management teams and are involved with decision making. Over the years we have developed a synergetic relationship based on mutual respect and trust. This relationship allows us to implement higher standards than would otherwise be possible, allowing us to confidently deliver high quality products with the comfort that we know how they were made. I first met the Chen family in 1999 when I was working as an import manager for a glass company in Seattle.

Chen, the father, is a brilliant chemist and glassblower at heart. His wife managed the business side of the factory. The Chens have three children about the same age as me. I remember feeling an immediate sense of kinship with them when we met.

Mrs. Chen made the strongest impression on me. She mentored me about doing business with China and inspired me to go into business for myself. I watched her solve endless production problems with perseverance, often saying, "There are no hurdles which cannot be crossed." I bore witness to her battle with cancer. Her journey was a testament to courage and she continues to be an inspiration to me.

The Chens
The Chens

The Chens and I decided to get into the color business together. My patient and supportive husband Dana moved to China with me for a couple years as we tested and learned to make the glass compatible. After a few twists and turns in finding the right sales channel, Creation is Messy was born in the summer of 2006.

I communicate frequently with Chen and our batch mixer Zhou about Messy Color™. Chen steers the direction of the formula, Zhou test melts, and I manage quality control. For example, when our customers suggested a milk glass that could be struck to varying degrees of translucency without ever going completely opaque, Chen & Zhou ran more than 50 test melts before we successfully obtained those working properties, for what has become known as Messy Cirrus.

Zhou Defei
I also work closely with Tao, our quality control manager, and her team. Tao is a treasure, doing her job well and always quick with a joke. She is responsible for teaching me to play mahjong and eating my fill of jiaozi (dumplings) on numerous occasions.

Han is our tester, a lampworker who can reproduce tests over and over with amazing precision. Although he is quiet and shy, some of my favorite times at the factory are chatting while monitoring his test making. He gives me a ride home on the back of his motorcycle when my bike has a flat.

In addition, we have a team of seven cane pullers. I do my best to take care of our team by making sure they have safety glasses, respirators, tools, medicines you can only get in the USA, etc. In return they take care of me. During my visits I stay at the Chen household, ride my bicycle to the factory every morning, and return for family lunches and dinners.

The crux of my work is in quality control. I hope that you will feel free to email me at any time with your ideas on how to improve Messy Color™. It is with your feedback that I can improve, so I welcome your input.

Finally, it is with special thanks that I speak to the lampworking community. Many people have been kind and giving with their ideas and suggestions. CiM is the product of much of your feedback; we are grateful!

Kathy Brash
Owner & Founder