The How and Why of My Blueberries
The handmade glass blueberries you see on these pages are individually sculpted in the flame of a torch from rods of colored Italian glass. The powdery coating on the surface is actually a dusting of finely ground blue glass that has been completely melted into the surface of each blueberry so that it cannot be scratched or chipped off.
My affection for blueberries comes from many youthful summers of picking them, one-by-one, from the wild-growing bushes on the shores of a lake. They always seemed worth the effort when you could immediately eat everything you picked. However, as an young adult I discovered that picking blueberries from the low-type bushes that grew wild in forest clearings was a lot more work, especially if I tried to exercise some self-control and accumulate enough to bake a pie. I was saved by my Nana, who taught me about a magical device called a blueberry comb. This was a small wooden box with a few finish nails pounded into the edge about ¼” apart. Viola! You could “comb” the blueberries from the bush, with the stems and leaves sliding between the nails and the blueberries falling into the box.
I have recently begun to make my glass blueberries in varying degrees of ripeness from completely green through fully ripe. I start by hand-mixing just the right tone of “unripe” green glass. Once it has been shaped, the glass blueberry is then layered with many coats of transparent red and blue enamels to give it the blush of partially ripened fruit.
Over the years my smiling Dad has often teased that, if there are any blueberries in the basket with their stems still attached, they always wind up in HIS bowl of cereal. So when I made the first bunch of glass blueberries as a gift for my Dad, it tickled me to create one with a little copper wire “stem” still attached. Naturally it was his favorite berry in the bunch.
I really enjoy making a mixed grouping of glass blueberries for someone who is collecting them as sculpture. It’s fun to include a wide variety of sizes, and although most of the blueberries will be ripe it really lights up the group to have a couple of less-ripe ones thrown in. The final touches of realism are a few berries with imperfections such as stems or little brown spots. I have seen people sort through a whole bowl full of glass blueberries just to find the “imperfect” ones.
Creating the glass blueberries with copper wire stems gave me a means to hang them as beads, and I also make glass blueberry beads with bead holes that run vertically through them. You can buy these beads individually to create your own glass blueberry jewelry. I’m happy to make them in the sizes, degree of ripeness and bead types that you specify.
More information about the components and construction of each piece is available by clicking on the thumbnail photos above. For ordering information, follow this link to the Ordering and Contact Page.