I recently had a chance encounter on Facebook with glass artist, Diane Hansen, who opened my eyes to the world of bellaballs. As a lover of blown glass and glass floats it was destiny that I meet one of the founders of this phenominal company based in the Pacific Northwest. bellaballs are hand-blown glass floats, available in 77 colors, individually made by artisans and their designs come from long time friends, Diane Hansen and designer Lesli Jacobs-McHugh.
|Bellaballs Founders ~ Diane Hansen & Lesli Jacobs-McHugh|
The idea for bellaballs was born from the giving of gifts. That’s why giving back to the
community is a central part of who the company is. Each year, bellaballs selects one of their signature designs as their annual Charity Ball.
“Our torn and tattered cause ribbon represents the battle. Our bella reminds us of the cure. For every bella Rosa
with the Cause Ribbon adornment you purchase, 10% of the profits will
go to a non-profit organization in the community and will give help to
those who need it. This year’s beneficiary of the Charity Ball is Susan G. Komen for the cure.”
|2010 Charity Ball|
“Japanese floats can teach us a lot about giving.
The kindness we show today will come back to us when we need it most.”
is made in the ancient tradition of Japanese fishing floats. These
floats were used since the mid-1800s to hold up fishing nets cast out in
the Pacific Ocean. But the ocean is a tough place. Waves often tore the
nets apart. The freed floats would spend years upon the waves. A
special few always ended up on world beaches, waiting to be discovered
by the most blessed of beachcombers. We take this as proof that what we
consider as ordinary does occasionally transform itself into beautiful
“We like transformation. That’s what glass art is all about. Glass
floats start life humbly. They get tossed by the storms. But they
endure. They display a strength that belies their fragile appearance.
They get more beautiful as they go along. We like that, too.”
|Celestial Moon bella|
8 Questions with bellaballs founders, Diane & Lesli
Why is glass art usually so expensive?
“Glass art is justifiably pricey. Unlike oil painting, you can’t do
it in your living room. It takes years of apprenticeships and studios
full of industrial equipment. It takes a team of artists to make even a
simple piece.” – Diane Hansen
Why is your glass art so affordable?
“It’s affordable only out of our determination to make it so. By
focusing only on glass floats, we’ve become really good at making them.
Each bella still represents a surprising amount of work and years of
honing this crazy, complicated craft.” – Diane Hansen (see our process here)
Why do you only make glass floats?
“We believe in doing one thing and doing it well. And we love glass
floats. The fishing float is made of the most fragile of materials, but
can withstand the battering of the roughest of seas. And it becomes more
beautiful as it goes along, just like we do.” – Lesli Jacobs-McHugh
Why are you located in Tacoma, Washington?
“Two reasons: Tacoma is home. We love it here. And Tacoma is a
world-renowned center for glass art, which gives us access to some of
the most highly-skilled production artists anywhere. It’s great to be
part of such a talented community.” – Diane Hansen
Can you really make a business out of just one kind of product?
“You can when it’s a remarkable product. Ours is. We’re confident
that getting a piece of glass art that feels this exotic and looks this
beautiful for such a reasonable price point will make our customers want
to tell their friends. So far, that’s exactly how it’s worked.” – Lesli
How do the skills of your two founders compliment each other?
“It’s a remarkable partnership—one I am so thankful for. The
combination of my interior design background and Diane’s mastery of the
craft of glass art have resulted in pieces that bring beauty to every
space and every life event.” – Lesli Jacobs-McHugh
Why does your logo include a fig leaf?
“The fig in our logo symbolizes abundance and prosperity. And figs
are delicious. Especially when served with vanilla ice cream. So why not
a fig?” – Diane Hansen
What’s the appropriate use for a bella?
“Please use bellas beautifully. bellas look great in the center of a
table, decorating a place setting, nestled into a bookcase, stacked in a
bowl, resting on a pillow, hidden under a bush, floating in pond, or
just about anywhere else a little unexpected beauty might brighten
someone’s day. And if that someone is you, all the better.” – Lesli
The magic of bellas is that they bring as much joy to the giver as to the lucky person who gets one.
|Shop for bellaballs at http://bellaballs.com/shop/|