EVERETT — A team of 10 glassblowers made more than 1,000 pumpkins for this year’s Schack-toberfest.
These blown-glass gourds, handcrafted in Schack’s hot shop, are displayed like a giant glass pumpkin patch Sept. 23 through Nov. 6 at the Schack Art Center in Everett.
One of the artists on that team, Sterling Powell, of Bellingham, made glow-in-the-dark pumpkins for the festival. He estimates he’s created 150 to 200 of the glowing gourds.
“Bright green and bright blue are two really good colors,” Powell said. “There is an orange, but it doesn’t glow very well.”
The pumpkins in the main gallery vary in shape, color and size. Some can fit in the palm of your hand, others require both arms to carry.
You will also find harvest-themed artwork in the main gallery by more than 50 local artists, including jewelry, pottery, paintings and, yes, more glass. Artists include Shannon Danks of Everett, Gina Holt of Bothell, Kathy Ross of Allyn and Steve Jensen of Seattle.
A silent auction in the mezzanine gallery, featuring about 40 original paintings on 12-by-12-inch panels, is open through Nov. 2. Bid online on more than 100 works of various mediums on display starting on Oct. 21. Check out the auction catalog at www.schackartauctioncatalog.org.
“They’re pretty affordable art, so it’s perfect for first-time collectors,” said Abby Powell, Schack’s marketing and communications manager, of no relation to Sterling Powell. “A lot of the art was made by our artists-in-residence last year.”
You can also sign up to make your own glass pumpkin Saturdays and Sundays in the Schack’s hot shop. Reservations fill up fast and are recommended at www.schack.org/make-it-now. Admission to the patch is free, but it costs $90 for members and $95 for non-members to make your own pumpkin.
Everett’s glass pumpkin patch and harvest art festival is larger and longer than ever — but there won’t be a Pints & Pumpkins event or kids activities this year because of COVID-19.
Josey Wise, exhibit preparator and gallery assistant at the Schack, said the most popular pumpkins are orange, of course, though other favorites are the purple, green, white and gold, as well as the striped and polka-dotted gourds.
“They’re all beautiful,” said Wise, adding that they range in price from $6 to $1,200 each. “It’s just a rainbow of colors.”
You can pick the perfect pumpkin out of the more than 1,000 to take home.
Abby Powell said the Schack’s 1,000-pound glassblowing furnace inside the hot shop is a workhorse. It runs nearly 365 days a year, 24 hours per day. Glass is heated to upwards of 2,000 degrees to make the pumpkins. She said the glassblowing team has been working on the pumpkin patch since May.
“What’s so cool about Schack-toberfest is that they’re able to get a whole bunch of artists together,” said Sterling Powell, who has worked for the Schack for eight years. “It’s a wonderful thing to see the pumpkin patch.”
Sterling Powell, 52, comes from a long line of glass artists dating back to the 17th century.
Powell is related to the founder of James Powell & Sons, in operation from 1834 to 1980, also known as Whitefriars Glass, based in London. Powell’s middle name is James.
James Powell, then a 60-year-old wine merchant, purchased the Whitefriars Glass Co. in 1834.
Powell and his sons, Arthur and Nathanael, were newcomers to stained glass, but they soon became experts in the art. They specialized in the manufacture of stained glass windows for churches.
Notable designers with the firm included Augustus Bouvier, J.R. Clayton, Edward Burne-Jones, E. Liddell Armitage and James Hogan, each of whom had their own studios within the firm.
Though James Powell & Sons closed down in 1980, the Powells were not done with glass.
In 1967, James and Jenkyn Powell established the Powell Brothers stained glass studio in Salt Lake City, renaming it Powell Brothers and Sons when their sons Sterling and Eli Powell joined the roster.
“Glass picked me as a career,” said Powell, adding that his uncle is a former executive director of the Stained Glass Association of America. “I’ve been doing glass since I was 4.”
Powell earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering in glass processes from Western Washington University.
He’s focused on blown glass since 1992, working for the likes of Dale Chihuly, Joseph Rossano and David Wight.
In 2019, Powell opened his own studio, Bellingham Bay Glassworks, which specializes in cane vessels, tableware, children’s banks and sculptures.
“Right now we’re making a lot of pumpkins,” he said. “Probably the most popular item we make is pumpkins. It’s probably the most fun time of year for making glass.”
Sara Bruestle: 425-339-3046; firstname.lastname@example.org; @sarabruestle.
If you go
Schack-toberfest, set for Sept. 23 through Nov. 6, featuring glass pumpkins and harvest art, is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Schack Art Center, 2921 Hoyt Ave., Everett. Make your own glass pumpkin. Bid on the silent auction.
Also: The Artists’ Garage Sale is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 25, near the Schack Art Center, on Hoyt Avenue between Hewitt and Pacific avenues. More than 100 artists are cleaning out their studios. Find deals on artwork and art supplies. The sale was canceled last year, so expect even more bargains. Admission is free.
Call 425-259-5050 or go to www.schack.org for more information.
Schack-toberfest by the numbers
$1,200 monstrous pumpkins
1,000 glass pumpkins
150 glow-in-the-dark gourds
100 auction items
$95 make-your-own session
80 local artists
40 12-by-12 panels
$6 minature pumpkins
1 perfect pumpkin for you