The gift of glass

When the seven women of Fused Visions, a peninsula-based glassworking group, were working on their first show this past spring, they were a little nervous that no one would come.

“We’ve never done this before, as a group,” said member Holly Hilt in April. “We want to introduce ourselves.”

It turns out Hilt and the others had nothing to worry about — Hilt now estimates that despite the threat of some late-spring snowfall, about 400 people stopped by Pioneer Memorial Park during the day to take a glimpse at the glass.

Encouraged by the turnout, the women, all from Sequim or Port Angeles and all with full-time jobs outside of glasswork, have been creating holiday-themed glass goods for their upcoming show.

“We want to stress holiday items,” member Sandi Hokensen said, pointing out her large glass bowl painted with holly sprigs.

Member Emily Eccles said she has been working on a series of fused glass Christmas scenes, which she calls “Winterland.” For the pieces, Eccles uses ground glass to give the illusion of sparkling, falling snow. Eccles also cut small pieces of glass for the details on snowmen.

“She cut the nose, eyes, buttons so carefully, they’re so small,” said Hilt. “She’s amazing.”

Meticulousness is a necessity in fused glasswork — one tiny blemish can ruin hours worth of work.

“If there’s a single fingerprint, if there’s an imperfection of any kind, your piece will blow up or crack in the kiln,” Hilt explained. “We have to be beyond conscientious, so it’s fun to look at everyone’s work because they put in that much work.”

To avoid such disasters, each piece is carefully cleaned, ridding it of any contaminates.

Due to the fact that they generally work alone, when they meet as a group, the women immediately begin admiring each other’s work. Hilt shows off a large glass bowl her mother, member Kristi Boddy, created. Across the room, Hokensen admires the work of member Susan Hafer.

The group also likes to educate the community about fused glasswork, something that is fairly unique and widely unknown. Hilt and Boddy, who sell their work through their company, Whitesbrook Fusion, said they are working with 60 children from Roosevelt Elementary in Port Angeles, teaching them how to make glass ornaments, which later will be donated to Olympic Medical Center Foundation’s Festival of Trees.

“They’re learning a little bit of chemistry, they’re learning a lot of math,” Hilt said of the sessions. “Hopefully, what they will be taking away is a sense of helping community.”

Hafer said she puts more time and effort into her glasswork than any other hobby she’s had and her group members agree.

“Doing this just makes us happy,” said Boddy.

Glass gifts

Who: Fused Visions, a seven-woman fused glass group based in Sequim and Port Angeles

What: Holiday show featuring jewelry, plates, candle cuffs and holiday-themed items

When: Noon-5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25

Where: Pioneer Memorial Park, 387 E. Washington St., Sequim

Additional info: “We try to be conscious of the current economy,” said member Emily Eccles, adding that many of the pieces will be $10 or less. Refreshments will be available.

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