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Published: Friday, October 7, 2011, 12:01 a.m.
Story tags » Community festivalsArts (general)EverettFamily funHalloween

Everett arts center glassblowers making a patch of 300 pumpkins

Festival's glass artists are creating a full-blown pumpkin patch

Story tags » Community festivalsArts (general)EverettFamily funHalloween
  • Glass artist Wolfram Wysgoll (right) helps gaffer Jesse Kelly as Kelly shapes a glass pumpkin inside the hot shop at the Schack Art Center in Everett....

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Glass artist Wolfram Wysgoll (right) helps gaffer Jesse Kelly as Kelly shapes a glass pumpkin inside the hot shop at the Schack Art Center in Everett. A team of artists are creating hundreds of glass pumpkins for the upcoming Schack-toberfest event the weekend of Oct. 21-23.

  • Kelly shapes a glass pumpkin inside a furnace at the Schack Art Center.

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Kelly shapes a glass pumpkin inside a furnace at the Schack Art Center.

  • Seventeen years of working glass in hot shops are reflected in the calloused hands of artist Jesse Kelly at the Schack Art Center. Kelly is leading a ...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Seventeen years of working glass in hot shops are reflected in the calloused hands of artist Jesse Kelly at the Schack Art Center. Kelly is leading a team of artists creating hundreds of glass pumpkins for the upcoming Schack-toberfest event the weekend of Oct. 21-23.

  • Glass artist Jesse Kelly puts the finishing touches on a glass pumpkin, shaping a stem. Kelly is leading a team of artists at the Schack Art Center to...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Glass artist Jesse Kelly puts the finishing touches on a glass pumpkin, shaping a stem. Kelly is leading a team of artists at the Schack Art Center to create hundreds of glass pumpkins for the upcoming Schack-toberfest event the weekend of Oct. 21-23.

  • Glass pumpkins created inside the hot shop at the Shack Art Center are lined up in anticipation of Schack-toberfest the weekend of Oct. 21-23.

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Glass pumpkins created inside the hot shop at the Shack Art Center are lined up in anticipation of Schack-toberfest the weekend of Oct. 21-23.

EVERETT -- God might indeed make pumpkins.
Jesse Kelly makes them fun.
Kelly is the leader -- otherwise known as a gaffer -- of a team of glassblowers who over the next couple of days will be producing glass gourds by the pound.
These gourds are destined to become part of an Urban Glass Pumpkin Patch, one of the attractions visitors can see during the Schack Art Center's first-ever Schack-toberfest later this month.
The goal for Kelly and his team of two is to create up to 300 pumpkins for the patch. That means the team has to make between 50 and 80 pumpkins a day at the Schack Art Center hot shop.
No problem for Kelly. He's been blowing glass for 17 years.
And messing with nature, well, that's just a good time.
"For me making the stem is the fun part. Add a little pizzazz, a little sexy," Kelly said Thursday while he used a tool to slowly pull a strip of molten glass into a twisty shape as if it were taffy.
Some of the pumpkins the team had created so far were put in a pile on a wall in front of the hot shop.
Crazy combinations in reds and golds and sizes and shapes, from sleek and modern to small and elegant, formed a wildly colorful mosaic display, like a page from a kid's storybook.
"We live in the gray Northwest, so you've got to have color. That's my motto," Kelly said.
Kelly, of Seattle, whose glass work can be seen at jessekellyglass.com, said being part of the Schack team means getting visitors excited about glass but also offers an opportunity for people to be part of a community event that will benefit artists.
"What is a community without art?" Kelly said. "If you can be connected with a physical bond to art, then that opens up doors for yourself and for this establishment as well."
The proceeds from the Urban Pumpkin Patch will go toward Schack Art Center programs, said John Kiley, head of glass programs for Schack.
Kiley selected the team of glassblowers, which consists of Kelly, Wolfram Wysgoll and Kris Rumman.
Kiley said the team will have a competition during Schack-toberfest to see who can make the biggest pumpkin -- at least beach-ball sized -- to be auctioned off.
A team was needed to create this pumpkin patch. Though glass tends to lend itself to orb-shaped objects, glassblowing is difficult to do alone, Kiley said.
Rumman said teamwork is what drew her to glassblowing.
"It's a unique thing," Rumman said. "There are not a lot of other jobs that are so collaborative."
Wysgoll said it takes a "physical connection with the material" to make glass art in any form, whether orb or otherwise.
"It's a very intimate bond between the material and the glass blower."
Schack-toberfest
The first art- and harvest-themed Schack-toberfest will include pumpkin-carving demonstrations by Diana McCarthy, pastel painting demonstrations with Janet Hamilton, glass pumpkin blowing all weekend and an opportunity to pick a glass pumpkin from the Urban Glass Pumpkin Patch.
Schack-toberfest is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 21 and Oct. 22, and noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Schack Art Center, 2921 Hoyt Ave., Everett. Admission is free.
For more information call 425-259-5050 or go to www.schack.org.
Adults and kids can make glass pumpkins
Kids and parents, you can make your own glass pumpkin at the Schack Art Center.
The center's team of glassblowers will help youngsters learn to design and blow their own glass pumpkin, complete with a swirly stem.
All supplies are provided and no experience is necessary, but reservations are recommended.
"The Make Your Own Glass Pumpkin" event goes from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday and 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Schack Art Center. Cost is $45. All ages are welcome.



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