Ho! Ho! Blow!

Hot competition in holiday dressing at the Museum of Glass

By Jessica Corey-Butler on November 22, 2007

The Museum of Glass is kind of a big deal.

But you already knew that, right? Just like you already knew about the worldwide reputation our own little inverted ice-cream cone is gaining with renowned artists in the medium of glass.

You probably knew all about how visiting artists will come to the museum from as far away as Australia and Italy, and they like us — they really like us. They like our special glass that’s brought here from Holland, they like our hot shop team, and probably they like us because we’re just darn nice.

But the luster on some of that “nice” will fade a bit Friday and Saturday when the MOG hosts the Ho! Ho! Blow!

While it sounds innocent enough, this event will bring out the competitive sides of the blowers, when representatives of the West Coast glass-blowing community will pit themselves against the East Coast.

Friday, the East Coast Team comprised of Deborah Czeresko, Skitch (aka Nick Mannion), Nancy Callan, Darin Denison, Becca Chernow, Jason Christian and Erica Rosenfeld will attempt to blow the world’s largest ornament.

Then Saturday, the West Coast Team, which includes the Museum of Glass resident team comprised of Ben Cobb, Alex Stisser, and Gabe Feenan, as well as Josie Gluck, Dan Friday, Sue Clark, Sam Decker, and Patricia Davidson, will blow the East Coast away — literally — as they blow a bigger and better ball.

Last year’s inaugural event, the brainchild of Czeresko, took place at Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center in Millville, N.J. The largest ball created there was “24 or 26” inches in diameter. This year, because things in Tacoma are bigger than they are in Jersey, the attempted size will be 36 inches; the glass artists will make more than one ball while trying different processes, though all attempts have to fit within the same framework, according to Museum of Glass spokesperson Susan Newsom. Basically, in this East vs. West competition, glass blowing is all old-school, manipulating a pipe to blow one bubble with a curlicue, no cold-working allowed.

At the end of all the fun and games and “my balls are bigger than yours” posturing, the fruits of the hot-winded labors of the artists will be donated to Tacoma’s Festival of Trees, a benefit for Mary Bridge Hospital.

The event happens Friday and Saturday, Nov. 23 and 24, 2007, at the museum of Glass; cost for admission is a mere $10, for adults, which includes all the exhibits of the museum.

Glassblowing will happen from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, with teams breaking for lunch around 1 p.m. Bring your pompoms and prepare your best “Go West, Go West” chant.

 [Museum of Glass, Nov. 23-24, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., $10, 1801 Dock St., Tacoma, 253.396.1768]