STORY BY MELODY XU, PHOTOS BY EMILY YAO
Local artists and art studios showcased thousands of glass pumpkins at the Palo Alto Art Center’s 26th annual Great Glass Pumpkin Patch this weekend.
Community members browsed through and purchased the glass pumpkins, which were hand-blown in a wide variety of shapes, colors and sizes, in recent months by some 25 artists. The event was hosted by the Palo Alto Art Center and Bay Area Glass Institute.
Peter Stucky (Bay Blown Glass)
A number of Peter Stucky’s glass pumpkins have two signature details, and it’s hard to say if an untrained eye could recognize them upon first glance; extra ridges in between the pumpkins’ curves and gradients that add a unique sense of dimension to the already magnificent pieces.
Beyond pumpkins, Stucky also displayed glass-blown stalks of lavender and colorful acorns.
Stucky fell in love with glass blowing through Palo Alto High School’s glass blowing elective — the school being one of very few that offer glass blowing courses — and it quickly became his calling.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do; I was not in the right place,” Stucky said. “And then I found glass blowing, fell in love with it and it changed my life.”
In a full-circle moment, Stucky returned to the Paly Fiery Arts, this time to help run the program. He then co-founded Bay Blown Glass with partner Dana Rottler, turning it into a full-time gig one year ago.
Tate Bezdek (2BGlass)
Tate Bezdek enjoyed glass-blowing so much that he convinced his first teacher to employ him — free of charge. Now, one half of the 2BGlass brotherly glass blowing duo, Bezdek has found his unique specialty when it comes to creating pumpkins.
2BGlass pumpkins stood out amongst the patch’s hay bales, sporting circular openings at their base as well as being accompanied in purchase by small lights.
“We do pumpkins that light up,” Bezdek said. “Our pumpkins have holes in the bottom and they come with tea lights or rope lights. We mainly do a transparent color — we like the translucency of glass.”
For Bezdek, the annual event is not only a simultaneous fulfillment of his artistic passion and business sense, but also an opportunity for community building.
“A bunch of my friends do the show too, so you get to sell your work, meet with customers that enjoy your work and you get to hang out with your friends,” Bezdek said.
Richard Small (A Small Production)
“I was a little goth kid … so [my pumpkins] have more of a gothic, industrial feel that’s pretty unique in this venue,” Richard Small said.
By the end of what was his 20th festival, most of Small’s gothic and Halloween collection of pumpkins had been swept up in customers’ baskets.
Small said the Great Glass Pumpkin Festival — especially following its first ever cancelation last year due to the pandemic — is extremely meaningful to him as an artist. While his part time online business, A Small Production, keeps him busily fulfilled, the festival’s human touch holds a space in his heart.
“At this event, you’ve got all this art just laying on the ground,” Small said. “You can walk around and see it and touch it, and you can meet the artists … We actually get to meet each other.”