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A 2,000-square-foot art studio at 80 Blackberry Way in Inverness Park burned to the ground Friday afternoon. The owner, Sherburne Slack, whose home is next to the studio, told me while the fire was still burning that he had “no clue” as to what started it.

Slack noted he gone to the studio half an hour before the fire broke out and had seen nothing amiss.
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There are no fire hydrants on Blackberry Way although there is one not far away at the foot of Balboa Avenue where tanker trunks refilled. Slack (above) has a 3,000-gallon tank at his house, from which both he and firefighters also drew water.

burnt-by-the-sun-kissed-by.jpgThe studio was being used for sculpting and had previously been used for blowing glass, but none of the glass furnaces had been turned on in a year and a half, Slack said. The artist explained he had developed a bad back and could no longer handle the heavy lifting glass blowing requires.

Slack said he lost $50,000 to $60,000 (wholesale price) of art in the blaze. Slack’s art (left) has been exhibited worldwide. Some of it is currently in an exhibition in New York, he noted.

The artist said he had been working at a computer in his house and waiting for someone with a brush chipper when he heard noises and went outside expecting to see the chipper.

Instead he found smoke billowing from his multi-level studio less than a block from Balboa Avenue.

100_4625.jpgSlack (at right) said he immediately called the 911 emergency number but was kept on hold for six minutes.

Meanwhile neighbors called the Point Reyes Station firehouse directly, and one person drove into town to alert firefighters.

Firefighters were called out at 2:18 p.m. County firefighters from Point Reyes Station, Woodacre, and Tomales responded, as did the Inverness Volunteer Fire Department.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, a prime concern was preventing the blaze from spreading to a house next door owned by Bolinas School teacher Don Jolley.

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vase-beauty-amethyst-gold-r.jpgAlthough the Jolley house (above) did not catch fire, heat from the blaze blew out windows facing the studio.

As of this posting, the county Fire Department was preparing to look for clues as to what started the fire.

Slack told me the studio was uninsured, adding that he does not have enough income to rebuild it. However, he said, the loss was just “stuff” and that it was more important that no one was hurt.

This vase from Sherburne Glass Studio is titled “Beauty” and contains “amethyst and gold ripple.”

The glass torso above, which also comes from the studio, is titled “Resurection.” Both pictures of Slack’s art were taken from sherb.com where more of his work can be seen.