Museum of Glass Participates in Military Couples Night Out

By Bonnie Wright, Curator of Education and Community Engagement

The holidays are over; it’s cold outside, so now what?

The Ranger, NW Airlifter, JBLM Living, NW Military and Stars and Stripes newspapers, and USAA appreciate that couples need a little time to themselves to get out and have some fun this time of year, so they organize the annual event, Military Couples Night Out!

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This annual free event includes food, a DJ, dancing lessons, games, and art-making activities provided by 16+ vendors from the community, including Museum of Glass (MOG). The site of the event changes every year—this year it was held at the Washington State History Museum, MOG’s neighbor. Museum exhibitions were free to explore all night!

MOG supplied a metal-embossing activity featuring snowflake shapes, as well as designs representing all military branches.

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This event is a wonderful way for the Museum to spread the word about the Hot Shop Heroes glassblowing program for soldiers and veterans; many at the event are new to Tacoma and this was their first introduction to the Museum and its programs.

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One lucky winner won a pair of free tickets to the Slider Cook-off on March 26. Maybe you’ll see them there!

Bonnie Wright is the Curator of Education and Community Engagement at Museum of Glass. A newcomer to the west coast, Bonnie can often be found exploring Tacoma, Seattle, and the region’s natural wonders.

Love is in the Air

By John Ferguson, Manager of Events and Corporate Membership 

The summer of 2015 was a busy time at Museum of Glass (MOG) for wedding ceremonies, receptions, and marriage proposals. MOG is a popular site for weddings with an outdoor ceremony followed by a reception in the Grand Hall. Each outdoor event brings a period of weather anxiety on the days leading up to the wedding, as the lucky couple hopes for perfect conditions on their big day. In 2015, we had a wide range of conditions; from heat waves where we had to take the wedding indoors, to a wedding that concluded just minutes before it started raining.

August 8 brought the wedding of Alice Yi and Michael Oh to the lower plaza near the Fluent Steps installation. Michael is an officer at nearby Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), and their dramatic ceremony had them walking under the drawn swords of other officers from JBLM.

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On September 2, Dan Rattenbury got down on one knee on the Hot Shop floor to propose to his girlfriend. MOG emcee Walt Lieberman was in on this elaborate arrangement to surprise her and have the proposal happen during their visit to the Hot Shop.

Dan had an idea that centered around the notion that his girlfriend was like a unicorn – a mythical being and, like a unicorn, too good to be true. A month before their visit, he had the Museum’s Hot Shop Team make a unicorn out of glass. The mythical glass creature was then carefully wrapped in advance as a grand prize for the person who could answer a trivia question on the day of their visit. Dan supplied our emcee with a question that only his girlfriend could answer. When she answered the question correctly she was then invited down on the Hot Shop floor to retrieve her prize.  Once she opened the box, Dan then asked her to marry him and she said yes!

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Looking on from the audience were friends and family along with the other Museum visitors. Congratulations Dan!

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John Ferguson is the Manager of Events and Corporate Membership at Museum of Glass. An aviation enthusiast and private pilot, John enjoys flying out of Tacoma Narrows airport and taking in the beautiful scenery this area has to offer.

Mortal Combat

By Derek Klein, Audio/Visual Producer 

On Tuesday, September 29, Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire instructor, Patricia Davidson, and program participant, Army Sergeant First Class (SFC) Peter Bazo from Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), joined forces to install the new exhibition, Healing in Flames, which is currently on display in the Grand Hall at Museum of Glass. All of the pieces were designed and crafted by soldiers participating in the Hot Shop Heroes program.

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One of the class’ collaborative pieces included in the exhibition, entitled Mortal Combat, features a glass scorpion and camel spider preparing to fight in the desert sand. The piece was inspired by a game often played by deployed soldiers as a way to pass time. The game involves placing a scorpion and a camel spider in a pit—dug by soldiers—where they would engage in a fight to the death.

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While installing Mortal Combat, SFC Bazo realized something was not quite right with the desert sand. He explained that there is a common misconception about the cleanliness of the desert. Contrary to popular belief, the desert is not a clean place, explained SFC Bazo. In fact, it is just the opposite.

As a last minute decision, Bazo suggested a plan: “Why don’t we add random filth to this scene? Here, I have some cigarette butts and spent shell casings to begin.” In the end, Mortal Combat shows the desert in its true form, including cigarette butts, water bottle caps, spent shell casings, and other forms of trash you might see in a war-torn desert.

Healing in Flames features several pieces conceptualized and created by the soldiers themselves, under the watchful eyes of instructors Patricia Davidson and Greg Owen, who are both well-established artists in the Pacific Northwest. All pieces were inspired by the soldiers’ experiences while on tours of duty. The exhibition also features a short documentary film created by the soldiers, which highlights their experiences within the Hot Shop Heroes program.

The soldiers were quite pleased with the accuracy achieved by the exhibition installation crew at Museum of Glass in creating a representation of the T Wall, a large concrete wall reinforced with rebar used for blast protection purposes in war zones. This T Wall replica displays some of the exhibition’s works of art.

Healing in Flames is on display at Museum of Glass through March 2016.

Derek Klein is a documentary film maker and has been covering the Pacific Northwest and international glass scenes with Museum of Glass for the past seven years.