The Tyler Glass Guild will take a more long-lasting approach to fall decorating with the creation of hand-blown glass pumpkins.
As part of an upcoming fundraiser, the group of student artists will sell glass pumpkins in pumpkin patch form at the Tyler Art Market on Oct. 11 from noon to 7 p.m. and Oct. 12 from noon to 5 p.m.
The profits from these hand-blown pumpkins will primarily go toward a trip members of the Tyler Glass Guild said will be very beneficial to their organization.
“We are trying to raise money to go to a glass society conference in Chicago,” Kristin Deady, a second-year graduate student, said. “We also donate some of the money for local nonprofit organizations in Philadelphia, such as the Village of Arts and Humanities. It’s a great organization because they put a heavy focus on kids.”
The creators of the pumpkins said they’ve put in many hours on Saturdays to prepare for the fundraiser.
Treasurer of the Guild, and junior fine arts major with a concentration in glass, Corinne Mcfadden described the work as “somewhat of a factory line.” They break down specific steps of the process to create the pumpkins from glass, and then individuals repeat the skill for multiple pumpkins, rather than having each artist construct full pumpkins alone.
Mcfadden said she usually took the place of the starter. She would transfer 2,000-degree glass onto a rod and make it into a bubble-like form. Though still without color, it could then be blown up to the shape of a pumpkin and finished with a twisted stem on top.
She said she put in a lot of effort because she believes the Guild will benefit from the trip to Chicago.
“The Glass Art Society Conference is a great way for us to further our education,” Mcfadden said. “There are a lot of glass artists, as well as new things going on. It really lessens the gap between school and reality.”
Pumpkins are not the only items available at the fundraiser. Mcfadden said the students could sell any items they’ve blown from glass.
Artists can keep 60 percent of the profit, with the other 40 percent going toward the Guild. Many members, Mcfadden said, have traveled around Philadelphia to various art shows and locations to sell their work, but it’s the more specific fundraising events that become most valuable to the group.
The opportunity to be a part of the glass blowing world is open to more than just those who are majoring in glass or are a part of the Glass Guild. Any students in the Tyler School of Art who express interest can become involved and participate in events like the upcoming fundraiser.
Undeclared sophomore Allison Ellinger joined the creation process for the pumpkin patch on Saturdays with nothing but an interest in glass blowing. She said her efforts paid off, as she was able to help with the creation of the pumpkins even though she was not a part of the Guild.
Alumnus Joshua Raiffie, who has been working in glass since he graduated from Temple, used his expertise in the field to assist the Guild by acting as production manager of the Saturday crew.
Along with the pumpkin patch at the Art Market, the Tyler Glass Guild will also show live demonstrations of how they create their glass pieces.
Deady said the Guild has been making pumpkins for years as part of its fundraiser sales. This year, however, it’s turning it up a notch and relying mostly on pumpkins to succeed. They have made roughly 300 pumpkins so far and are continuing on the Saturdays up until the event.
“This event is like going to a normal pumpkin patch,” Deady said. “Except our pumpkins are low-maintenance, beautiful, handmade and unique.”
Kristi Fidler can be reached at email@example.com.