Nothing Says Love Like (Glass) Flowers

Photo Courtesy Corning Museum of Glass

It’s probably impossible to count how many roses are sold on Valentine’s Day in the Finger Lakes Region alone – forget about the whole country! However, I’ve got one rose that’s lasted for years with absolutely no watering or plant care (my kind of flower if I’m being honest!). In fact, the only way that I could manage to kill this low-maintenance rose is by dropping it – it’s made of glass.

Glass flowers for sale are a signature greeting at Corning Museum of Glass. If you’ve never been and are questioning how a museum dedicated to glass could possibly be interesting, I assure you that it is one of the coolest museums I’ve ever been to. Where in the Louvre can you watch someone torch a vase out of a solid blob? Or sign up to make beads and jewelry pieces, or even to blow a glass ornament yourself?

My particular yellow rose was specifically plucked out from buckets full of shining roses that had been in the bed of a picturesque pick-up truck display. It was the first thing I laid eyes on walking through the front door and I knew I had to have one. I remember specifically bee-lining for buckets and agonizing over which color to pick – this decision would be for life! Even after I claimed my prize, I spent months afterwards wondering if I should have picked a mixed white and pink one like my younger sister did.

While this museum was impressionable enough to vividly stick in my brain a decade or so after visiting, I realize now that the Finger Lakes is full of artisans and glassblowers. It was incredible to see the process and to learn about the science behind glassblowing. But what’s even more incredible is the awareness I have now of the small town artisans all around the region who do the same thing for a living!

As I grew up around beautiful glasswork, I never realized how uncommon it was. In the Finger Lakes Region, you just have to go to the local artisan shop. During the holidays, it seemed like every store had some version of those same glass ornaments that I saw in the museum. Art galleries all over the region feature sculptures and unique dinnerware – even tiny little glass figures grace the shelves of small toy stores.

When I had the opportunity to travel to Venice last year, I was highly impressed that the world-famous Venetian glasswork looked surprisingly familiar to me – but don’t tell the Venetians I said that! I couldn’t help but feel proud to discover that the pieces being done in New York sparkle just as much as the pieces that hung in shops during Carnivale. Bellissimo!


Halie Solea 2013By Halie Solea