More than 300 snow globes decorate Bothell artist’s office

It’s not unusual to see a snow globe or two on a desk at work.

Shaking these glitzy-kitschy souvenirs helps people de-stress or relive vacation moments.

But hundreds of snow globes?

What’s up with that?

Dennis Wunsch has about 300. His Bothell office is a globe fest of miniature dioramas. Snowmen. Sea creatures. Skylines. Elvis. A bowler who dropped a ball on his foot.

Wunsch is the creative director of Scotsman Guide, a magazine that has nothing to do with Scotland or men in kilts or anything Scottish (what’s up with that?!). It’s a resource for mortgage originators. Mortgage lending isn’t sexy, but this guide is flashy with punchy illustrations.

Maybe it’s the mojo of the snow globes.

The office is tucked away in the Canyon Park Business Center maze of look-alike buildings off Bothell-Everett Highway. Wunsch’s snow globe kingdom is only seen by co-workers and their furry friends.

This media company lets employees bring their dogs to work. That’s the biggest threat to the globes.

“Their tails have knocked them off,” said Wunsch, a dog owner and pet rescue foster parent.

It doesn’t happen often. The dogs here are well-trained and behaved. So, too, are the workers.

Wunsch adds some whimsy to the workplace. Here’s this tall, soft-spoken seemingly normal enough 56-year-old man who creates fine art while surrounded by plastic bric-a-brac.

“He makes it fun because it’s a really quiet office. It gives it character,” co-worker Heather Neumann said. “When I first started here and I saw Dennis’ office I thought it would be my kids’ dream to come here and shake them all at once and see how many they could get to stay going.”

If there were 300 globes at my fingertips, that’s what I would do, shake snow and glitter all day. We’d never get a newspaper out.

Wunsch denies playing with them.

Still, a snow globe crept onto a page in 2011. “I try to put more snow domes in, but this is the only one that made the cut,” he said of an illustration for a story about the underwater housing market.

Snow globes got started when someone stuck a little Eiffel Tower in a glass globe in the late 1800s, eventually leading to a cheesy souvenir explosion. About anything goes inside a snow globe these days. Ben Franklin. Naked women. Sasquatch. Bowlers.

Wunsch started collecting them in the late 1980s while tagging along with his wife on junkets for mid-century modern furniture. “I needed something to go look for,” he said.

Snow globes hit the spot. “It seemed a little strange and fun.”

You know how it is when you start collecting something, be it rocks, stamps, spoons, tattoos, bobbleheads or Pez.

“Once you start getting a few, well, then you got 25. And that’s not enough. It started domino-ing,” Wunsch said.

The frenzy was abetted by friends and family who get him globes on travels.

Heck, I was suddenly struck with the urge to bring him one, so there’d be a little piece of me on the shelf. Crazy.

Wunsch’s globes have traveled to three states and seven offices with him. “It took three people to package them and wrap them up,” he said. “You know you have good friends when they sit around and pack snow globes.”

We’re talking about filling a dozen moving boxes.

Wunsch says he has it under control.

“There are people way crazier than I am about their snow domes,” he said. “I’ve gone to my 12-step program. I’ve cut back.”

The TSA likely has an impressive collection. According to the TSA site for carry-ons, snow globes must contain less than 3.4 ounces (tennis ball size) and the entire globe, including the base, has to fit in the same clear, plastic, quart-sized bag as the passenger’s other liquids, such as shampoo and cosmetics.

Would you give up your toiletries for a snow globe?

Got an obsession or hidden What’s Up? Please do tell.

Check out Wunsch’s illustrations at www.denniswunsch.com.

Send What’s Up With That? suggestions to Andrea Brown at 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @reporterbrown. Read more What’s Up With That? at www.heraldnet.com/whatsup.

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