If taking a ride to the patch to pick out a pumpkin to carve was never your thing, you might be interested to know that there’s a nationwide squash trend that continues to grow: glass pumpkin patches.
Though glass-blown pumpkin patches have existed for decades, it’s a tradition that’s catching on across the country. Glassblowing is an ancient art — its origins can be traced back to the establishment of the Roman Empire in the first century, BC — but like many art forms, it’s not always valued in the way it should be.
That’s why the increasing popularity of these handcrafted pumpkins is so exciting. The Palo Alto Great Glass Pumpkin Patch just celebrated its 21st anniversary, but some glass pumpkin patches, like the one in Eugene, Oregon, made their debut this fall. When glass pumpkin patches and festivals pop up across the nation, artisans travel from far and wide to showcase their skill. They often get the opportunity to educate the public about the art of glassblowing at the same time.
Glass artist Kevin Chong says that he particularly enjoys making pumpkins because of their unlimited possibility. He says that “nothing’s off-limits for making a pumpkin. That gives me so much freedom to explore color combinations, color techniques, glass-making techniques.” A glassblower with decades of experience, Chong participated in the glass pumpkin patch event in Palo Alto, as well as four other Bay Area glass pumpkin festivals.
Chong adds that the demand for these glass gourds doesn’t die down with each passing year. This may be attributed to the fact that each pumpkin is wholly unique — a one-of-a-kind showpiece. “There’s people that collect hundreds of them,” he says.
Each artist brings his or own distinctive style to the pieces. Whether your local festival has 200, 800, or nearly 6,000 glass pumpkins on display, you’ll be sure to notice the attention to detail, artistic skill, and passion and care put into each pumpkin.
Chong says, “I wake up excited to start my day playing with glass. It awakens all your senses.”