lee rhodes is one of many glassblowers making an artisitc career in the seattle area. thanks to chihuly's well-deserved fame, seattle is becoming a bit of a capital for the glass blowing arts. but lee's story is noteworthy not only because her work is simply gorgeous, but because of the path that brought her to it, and what inspires her to keep at it. lee has demonstrated how a single object can help others who have suffered as she has. during a seven-year battle with lung cancer, rhodes realized how much people with cancer need support. when it was all over, she turned to glassmaking and eventually created the glassybaby, which she now produces for charity. at 32, after her third child was born, rhodes was stricken with cancer. she suffered three bouts of the disease. later, in 2000, her marriage ended and she rekindled her interest in glassblowing but she also wanted to start a business to help the kind of women who had sat with her in waiting rooms or in recovery at the hospital.
the glassybaby studio in seattle's madrone distraict is in a low 5,700-square-foot warehouse, {interesting side note: this is a former black panthers stronghold with graffiti murals that are a protected landmark} and it is now a $2 million business where 26 people in rotating teams blow the colored translucent glasses with clear heavy bases seven days a week. even though the cups, candleholders and vases are made in just about every color in the spectrum, they all have the same drinking-glass shape with a heavy clear-glass bottom. until recently glassybaby has been sold only by word of mouth at private parties - much the way tupperware was once sold. now lee rhodes is taking the party on the road. she was in san francisco earlier this month to sell glassybabies in the presidio at the log cabin. it was her first attempt, since she was featured on martha stewart's fledgling home show in 2005, to spread her gospel ~ that a brand such as hers can bring people together.
also check out her impressive
website where you can order glassybabies individually or in sets.
this is the kind of gift you can feel fabulous about giving any time of year. ;o)

{thanks to sfgate & the glassybaby website for the info and photos}


tangobaby said...

Ooh! I just went to her website. The selection of colors is gorgeous. Thank you for sharing.

J Lee said...

wow... gorgeous!


paris parfait said...

What a wonderful story and fabulous products! Thanks for sharing the news about Lee and The Glassybaby.

studio wellspring said...

thanks ladies ~ it's so wonderful to discover a beautiful product that has more to it than meets the eye. so many things are just "things", space fillers, but the glassybaby is art & a good cause all in one. maybe someday the majority of products in our consumer-focused world will go this way, picking up charities to sponsor with their profits.

Uncle Beefy said...

Glassybaby is up in my neck of the woods. They're really exquisite but I had no idea of the background story?! Heartbreaking and inspiring all rolled into one. Thanks SO much for sharing!