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Belles of the Ball

Bellaballs Studio Opens House

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For Tacoma designers Diane Hansen and Lesli Jacobs-McHugh hope literally floats. They will launch bellaballs — their new line of hand-blown glass art — and host an open house at their bellaballs studio in Tacoma Saturday, Jan. 17 from 5-8 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

Each bellaball design is original and comes from the heart of Hansen and Jacobs-McHugh as they endeavor to celebrate the beauty of life with their hand-crafted, collectible objets d’art. Inspired by the ancient tradition of Japanese fishing floats, bellaballs are individually made by artisans in the Pacific Northwest and come in a wide array of colors. Both women discovered they had a common interest in collecting the rare sea treasures.

“Our bellaballs are designed in keeping with that tradition. They are made to be original, personally discovered, or given away as beautiful gifts. Each one really takes on a life of its own,” says Hansen.

Originally Japanese floats were used to hold up fishing nets cast on the ocean. But as the ocean ebbed and flowed, waves often tore the nets apart. The freed glass floats drifted across the waters, eventually landing safely upon beachfronts across the world. Hansen and Jacobs-McHugh see that journey as a metaphor of life and endurance. They take the floats as proof that what is often considered ordinary can be transformed into a beautiful treasure.

“We like transformation. That’s what glass art is all about. Glass floats start life humbly. They get tossed by the storms. But they endure. They display a strength that belies their fragile appearance. They get more beautiful as they go along. We like that, too,” says Hansen.

The bellaballs line comes in classic, signature or custom styles. Whether you want a signature ball created to remember a significant stage or season of your life or a custom designed, limited edition float for corporate awards or gifting, bellaballs are created to celebrate the special moments of our lives.

Hansen and Jacobs-McHugh are especially excited about their offering of their “charity ball.” Since both artists’ lives have been touched by cancer, for 2009 they will be partnering with the American Cancer Society to help fund-raise. A specially-designed charity ball and a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of those balls will be donated to support the cause. 

For more information on bellaballs and their studio, visit their Web site.

[Bellaballs Studio, Saturday, Jan. 17, 5-8 p.m., free, 747 S. Fawcett Ave., Suite B, Tacoma, 253.222.0716]


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