A Colorful Surprise

By Alex Carr, Communications Manager

We have a special story to share with you today. This morning, 13-year-old Eli, a student at Jason Lee Middle School, saw color for the first time at Museum of Glass.

Eli is colorblind, but that changed today thanks to a unique pair of glasses from EnChroma.

EnChroma’s color blindness glasses have been featured on the Today Show and CNN Money. Recently, the company hosted a contest to give away glasses to children with color vision deficiencies. The company received almost 200 entries. Eli was one of around 50 children who were selected to receive EnChroma’s glasses.

In the video Eli submitted as part of his application, he shared what he hoped to accomplish as an adult, as well as how seeing color would impact his current interests and hobbies.

As a soccer player and referee, Eli knew that seeing color would help him better navigate the field and distinguish soccer teams’ different colored jerseys.

Eli also knew the first place he wanted to go if he won the glasses.

He originally told his mom that he wanted to experience color for the first time at the tulip fields; after realizing this would not be possible in winter, he knew where he could go to see color, no matter the season—Museum of Glass.

He arrived at Museum of Glass with his mom and sister as soon as the doors opened, EnChroma glasses in hand, eager, but nervous, to see how the glasses would change his vision.

After some discussion about what he should look at first, he decided to head to Cappy Thompson’s Gathering the Light in the Museum’s Grand Hall. Eli had been told that it can take about 15 minutes for eyes to adjust to the glasses, but as soon as he put them on, he noticed changes in his vision.

Eli immediately began to point at colors he had not seen clearly before. “Is that yellow?” he asked. “And this is…red?”

Eli and his family moved into the Chihuly’s Venetians exhibition, where he approached the Color Matching wall. Eli had never seen the color of his bedroom wall (without the glasses, it looks grey), so his mom took this opportunity to point out the color.

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Eli, seeing different shades of blue.

“That’s the color your room is,” said Eli’s mom, Mary, pointing to a vivid green.

“Really? That’s really bright. I didn’t realize it was that bright,” replied Eli.

Eli also had another opportunity to experience the many shades of color in the Hot Shop’s color room, where colored powders and canes used by the Museum’s Hot Shop Team are stored.

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Eli in the Hot Shop’s color room.

The colorful morning ended outside on the Chihuly Bridge of Glass, where Eli briefly took off the glasses to compare how his eyes adjusted with and without his new specs.

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Eli on the Chihuly Bridge of Glass.

Learn more about Eli and his EnChroma glasses on KIRO Radio and KOMO News, as well as in The News Tribune!

Alex Carr is the Communications Manager at Museum of Glass. When she’s not circulating the Hot Shop floor trying to get the perfect Instagram shot for the Museum, you’ll find her baking at home, running at Green Lake, or exploring Washington’s wineries.

Docent Trips and Tours

By Carla Bruno, Museum of Glass Docent

As part of their ongoing efforts to learn as much as possible about the world of glass art, Museum of Glass docents often enjoy the privilege of visiting with artists in their working environments. Two such special opportunities occurred recently.

In March, a group traveled to the Ballard district in Seattle to view an exhibit of modern Scandinavian glass at the Nordic Heritage Museum. Then, after lunching together, they met with Dante Marioni at his Fremont studio to talk with him about his work.

Museum of Glass docents with Dante Marioni (center) in his studio

Museum of Glass docents with Dante Marioni (center) in his studio

In April, another similar journey found our museum docents in the Fremont area of Seattle taking a tour of Fremont Antique Glass talking with its founder Jim Flanagan, and watching as cylinders of glass were blown and then turned into flat sheets of gorgeous, multi-hued glass. (Museum of Glass visitors see the work of Fremont Antique Glass, since they made the glass used for Cappy Thompson’s piece Gathering the Light in our Grand Hall.) After another fun lunch together, they then visited glass artist Ginny Ruffner in her Ballard home and studio. Having the opportunity to talk with Ginny and see her home and garden (which are also works of art) is such a special opportunity–one our docents greatly appreciate. “Being able to visit Ginny’s studio for the second time, to see the progression both in her work and the changes within the building (including adding on a garden room where she raises vegetables) was so rewarding,” noted Kathryn Hillig.

With Ginny Ruffner (in front) in her Ballard studio

With Ginny Ruffner (in front) in her Ballard studio

As you plan your next visit to Museum of Glass, please don’t forget a tour of the gallery exhibits with one of our engaging and knowledgeable docents. “Meeting the artists gave us the opportunity to ask questions and better understand their processes,” said Lysa Schloesser. As you can see, they have a wealth of information and experiences to share!