There's a tattooed mermaid whose model-perfect physique was blown and sculpted hot. There are beautiful incalmo rondells, exquisite plates that have been joined together to make one and the outer rim looks as delicate as rice paper.
Boutte most important artworks these days are his Spirit Weights. He sits in a chair and makes a sweeping motion with his arms toward the shelves that hold his precious glass works.
"All of this is stuff," he says. "It really is just stuff. The Spirit Weights help people. They help them heal and have closure."
Spirit Weights are named after Boutte's malamute Spirit who was the artist's constant and devoted companion for nine years until Spirit died of cancer.
After Spirit died, Boutte wanted to do something to honor him. He thought at first about putting his ashes in a paperweight but that seemed inelegant. Instead, Boutte went to his glass blowing studio and came up with something else.
He got the idea of shaping the fiery hot glass into an egg-shaped orb but he also decided to create a hollow center in the orb by blowing air into a blowpipe. It was in this hollow center that Boutte placed Spirit's ashes.
Boutte's Spirit Weights and his other glasswork are all part of the Camano Studio Tour taking place both this Mother's Day weekend and the following weekend.
In 2002, Boutte began offering Spirit Weights to the general public. The weights come in nine options in terms of color combinations and patterns with centers being cobalt, scarlet or clear. They weigh about 1 pound, start at $95 and can be engraved.
Boutte's clients have included a Marysville police K-9 officer who lost his dog.
Another client had brought his mother one year to the studio tour and when she saw the Spirit Weights she said she wanted to be in one of those. When she died, her son ordered 25 of them so that her ashes could be shared with family and friends.
"When people hold the glass it makes them feel good," Boutte said. "They know their loved one is in something that they can hold, a permanent memorial to them which they can set out but it's not the proverbial urn.
"I'd like to be known for these. These help people."
For more information on Boutte's Spirit Weights go to www.zhibit.org/marcboutteglass/.
Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424; email@example.com
Camano Island Studio Tour
The Camano Island Studio Tour, featuring 48 professional and amateur artists, 34 studios and three galleries, kicks off its 15th anniversary year this weekend.
One stop on the tour is John Ebner's studio. Ebner is a founding member of the tour and a former salesman turned watercolor specialist.
"I think we have a unique offering here," said Ebner, whose work is collected nationally. "Not only do people have the opportunity for an intimate experience with dedicated artists but we are situated in such a beautiful and unique island community that the scenery itself is an attraction and an inspiration."
Other artists include former Boeing engineers, architects, teachers and lawyers. The tour is juried, which means the quality of art work must be high. The range of what can be seen runs the gamut from paintings, to sculptures to glass to jewelry to masks to pottery.
Many of the artists will demonstrate how they create their art during studio visits. The public gets a chance to see artists in action, ask questions and buy artwork.
This free self-guided tour runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, Saturday and Sunday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 18 and 19.
You can download a map and a list of the participating artists at www.camanoarts.org.
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