A uniquely whimsical fundraiser in part for Opera Saratoga will be held this weekend at the Gideon Putnam Hotel with the inaugural Saratoga Glass Pumpkin Patch. More than 1,000 glass pumpkins in a mesmerizing array of colors and sizes all created by nationally recognized glassblower Gregory Tomb will be for sale.
“I make them all year long and sell a lot of them,” Tomb said. “But many of these I’ve collected only in the last two months.”
Tomb was the hotel’s artist-in-residence this summer where he taught glassblowing classes daily between July 4th and Labor Day. People were able to learn enough about the skill to make something by the end of the day whether it be a flower, bowl, heart, paperweight or even a small pumpkin.
One of his students was Lawrence Edelson, the artistic/general director of Opera Saratoga.
“I only knew him as Larry,” Tomb said. “I was talking about wanting to have some kind of fundraiser like what the Bay Area Glass Institute has where they have 20,000 glass pumpkins for sale in their Great Glass Pumpkin Patch.”
Tomb teaches at the Institute and every fall, the school’s several instructors and glassblowers from all over the west coast offer their glass pumpkins at the event. Because Tomb is originally from the Burnt Hills area and loved coming to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center as a kid — even this summer he went to almost every concert and sold glass at the Jazz Festival, he said — he wanted to do something that would benefit the area and celebrate his entire experience at the hotel. When he mentioned his idea about trying to find an organization that would partner for a fundraiser, Edelson suggested Opera Saratoga.
Voila. Thirty percent of the pumpkin sales will benefit the company’s educational programs, which include its Opera-to-Go that benefits up to 20,000 children during the spring and the new Discover Opera for high school students, which debuted this summer with Ricky Ian Gordon’s “Ellen West” for which participating students received free passes to the production. Funds will also go to future glass education programs at the hotel.
What Tomb is particularly pleased about this weekend is that it will spotlight glassblowing.
“The area with all its springs has had a long history of glassblowing,” he said. “They sold the water but had to put it in handblown glass bottles in order to sell it. So glassblowing was booming here. People know glass but not how it is made, so there will be a video of myself at the event showing how I make the pumpkins.”
Tomb’s been involved in the craft ever since he discovered glass in 1997 at the Corning Museum of Glass.
“Glassmaking is ridiculously expensive and years go by before you can make something really nice,” he said. “But there are endless possibilities of what to make with it. And I love pumpkins. I always try to make something different. Variety appeals. If you combine the colors right they’ll look cool.”
The pumpkin patch will be in the tent where he taught this summer near the hotel’s conference center near the front of the hotel. Pumpkins will measure from two to twelve inches with prices starting at $35.
And Tomb will be onsite to answer any questions.
Saratoga Glass Pumpkin Patch
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 14, 10a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 15, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
WHERE: Gideon Putnam Hotel, Saratoga Spa State Park
HOW MUCH: Free
MORE INFO: www.gideonputnam.com/glass-pumpkin-sale