It’s Pumpkin Fever in Chelan County!

Photos by: Barbara Washburn (Above): Craig Sorenson and Jori Delvo prepare to finish one of their glass pumpkins. (Below): A variety of colorful glass pumpkins made by Boulder Bend Glassworks in Peshastin

You might have seen the sign outside driving by: “Come and in and get your glass pumpkin!” Well, it made this reporter somewhat curious. Plus, all the amusing remarks I have heard about the many different colors and design a glass pumpkin can have. However, seeing them being made in action was really something to write to all of you about. Our local area glass blowing studio has been described by visitors as a magical place.

Boulder Bend Glasswork off Hwy 2 in Peshastin is a lively location during the autumn season. Actually, it is pretty much full of life every time I drive by. Once you get inside you can quickly see why. There are always new, often seasonal and bright items that are being created.

The owners, Craig Sorensen and Jori Delvo who spend their days working with very large torches and glass blowing instruments, have been local residents for some years and are excited for many more of their design ideas to take on their physical form. The name Boulder Bend was chosen for the set of rapids on the Wenatchee River, and the owners love for their scenic display and salmon watching.

They had met each other in 2005 at a Leavenworth restaurant. Jori developed a passion for the glass blowing industry when she met Craig. After retiring from the Navy he had studied glass blowing at California Polytechnic and also The Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass.

No matter how small the pumpkins, their tools being used are impressive and very large in size. Glass blowing is most certainly a constant team effort. “The hot glass needs to be rolled, so it will not change it shape as the mass cools down,” Jori explains. The work area of course is restricted for safety reasons but given the very large building it is easy to watch as a visitor. The sales display area is more than striking. Other than pumpkins the owners created incredible shapes, such as their well-known and very distinctive salmon glass designs.

The pumpkins can be shaped in three different mold sizes, always called dip molds in the glass blowing industry. The tank which holds the clear glass is kept at 2080 degrees; whereas the reheating oven runs at about 2200 degrees.

With firing, shaping, re-firing and cooling, it takes two days to make each pumpkin yet less than one minute to shape it. When making it the glass comes in a crushed form which is a product specifically made for glass blowing. “We combine generally 5 to 7 colors,” Craig explains. “The colors are encased in non-colored glass, with roughly 95% of the pumpkin remaining clear.”

Jori and Craig also enjoy the vision of creating something new from something old. They give the term Upcycling, also known as imaginative reuse, a new meaning and most certainly an artistic and environmental value. The store which has been around a little over a year now, is open between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. through Christmas with the exception of Thanksgiving Day itself. Their business hours are updated on Google Maps. On the web they can be found here.

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