October 12, 2018

Buy a glass pumpkin and see a live demonstration at 2018 Glass Pumpkin Patch

by Hannah Erickson

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Back by popular demand, the countdown is on for the 13th annual Great Glass Pumpkin Patch at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The event will be held 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Oct. 20, and will feature over 400 glass pumpkins for sale. The pumpkins will be available on the grass field in front of the Pulliam Breezeway on the SIU Campus, 580 W. Grand Ave, Carbondale. This is a new location from previous years, but allows the community to see where the pumpkins are made, along with viewing a live glass demonstration.

Pumpkins crafted by students

Since 2006, both undergraduate and graduate students in the glass program at SIU have worked hard to craft the pumpkins that sell at this event. Each year about 400-600 pumpkins are available, with nearly 500 people from the local and regional community showing up for the anticipated event.

Before the sale begins, shoppers arrive early to choose their special pumpkin and join the excitement of the season. While the demand for the pumpkins is high, the event is limited based on how many pumpkins students can create during the semester.

Live glass-blowing demonstration

This year’s event will feature a special glassblowing demonstration by David Levi, the 2018 SIU Glass Artist-in-residence. The live demonstration will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the glass studio in the Pulliam Industrial Wing.

Levi is an American artist and designer whose work has been featured at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., and the American Craft Museum in New York City. He has also earned the American Craft Council Young Americans Award and a National Endowment for the Arts grant.

Proceeds support students

The pumpkin sale is hosted by the Southern Glass Works, the glass art student organization in the School of Art and Design at SIU and directly supports the students and their work. Jiyong Lee, professor and head of glass program and craft area, sees the event as a way to further support the educational experience for the students.

“All proceeds support enhancing students’ educational experience within the glass program, including funding for the visiting artist series, student field trip and tool and facility upgrades,” Lee explained. “With the fund, we invited over 40 professional artists who came internationally and nationally since 2006.”

The proceeds have also supported student conference and field trips, including four recent students who received $2,000 to go to the Glass Art Society Conference in Murano, Italy. Students have also traveled to New York, Ohio and Missouri for events.

Over the last few years the pumpkin sale has also funded the rebuilding of two furnaces, along with upgrading studio benches, and purchasing other glassblowing equipment for students.