Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Behind the Scenes at Glass Gardens Northwest

Last week as part of the December Photo Project I posted a photo of Barbara Sanderson of Glass Gardens Northwest, from the Christmas ornament glass blowing party that I attended. I thought you might want to see more.

I first met Barbara at the Seattle Fling in 2010, where she donated a prize as a giveaway. I didn't win it, but I realized I loved her art! When I lived in Massachusetts, I could never leave garden ornaments, especially glass ones, out in the garden year-round. They just couldn't withstand our terrible New England winters. But here in Washington I can.

After meeting Barbara and seeing her work, I decided I just had to have some of her beautiful glass pieces for my garden. I've posted before about them here and here.

The process of making a glass ornament begins with dipping a long metal tube into a pool of molten glass.

The glob of glass is then heated, while rolling the tube.

The molten glob is then dipped into any of these mixes to add color, then heated again.

After being reheated, the glob gets shaped by rolling on a metal table.

After again being reheated, she then dips the glob into a mold to give it ridges.

Then Barbara's assistant David Exelby blows through the tube to create a hollow glass ball, while Barbara shapes it.

After carefully breaking the ornament off the tube, another smaller glob of molten glass is added at the broken spot, and then stretched and stretched and twisted to create a curlicue for hanging.

We had the option of choosing from a variety of shapes and colors.

I chose a simple red one. Here's my glass ornament hanging in the garden (not its final resting place).

I'm a believer in not only supporting local artists, but also the arts in general, and especially art in the garden. The right piece carefully placed can bring a lot of color and a different variety of shapes into the garden, where shape is often key to creating a stunning display.

This was actually the first time I saw Barbara's artwork. It was part of one of the display gardens at the 2010 Northwest Flower and Garden Show, where Barbara often has a booth in the vendor area.

Her art looks stunning lit from below.

If you're looking for a Christmas gift at this time of year for the gardener in your family, look no further than Glass Gardens Northwest. If they receive your orders by midnight, Monday, December 17th, they can get your items to you in time for Christmas. You can shop at the online store here: or through their Etsy Storefront here. If you're having a hard time deciding which of her beautiful artwork the gardener in your family would like most, you can also order a gift certificate for later use.

The Glass Gardens Northwest studio also includes a storefront where the art is on display.

I hope you enjoyed this look at the making of a glass ornament, and please consider buying glass art from Glass Gardens Northwest for the gardener in your life who is hoping for a wonderful thoughtful Christmas gift from you!