Jack-o-lanterns have been a Halloween symbol for centuries. But have you ever thought about putting a twist on this tradition? At Cohn-Stone Studios in Richmond, you can find hundreds of glass pumpkins nestled in their garden that remind you of the pumpkin carriage in the fairy tale Cinderella.
Cohn-Stone Studios, a hand-blown glass studio, holds an open studio during three weekends in October to display and sell their work. During Halloween season, the pumpkin is the centerpiece of their displays.
Studio owners Michael Cohn and Molly Stone place hundreds of glass pumpkins in their triangle-shaped garden. Visitors can select pumpkins they’d like to buy while wandering on the garden trail.
All of the pumpkins are made on site at Cohn-Stone Studios. Visitors can see the process of how these whimsical glass pumpkins are created from start to finish.
On a recent Saturday, hundreds of visitors came to the studio. Some have been attending this annual event for several years—even a few who drove all the way from Southern California.
“It’s beautiful. I have one at my home. Everybody comments about it when they come to the house,” said Eloise Oretsky, “because it’s outstanding.” Oretsky was in the process of selecting her second glass pumpkin at the studio.
Molly Stone has been blowing glass for 31 years. She came up with the idea of making glass pumpkins in 1990. Stone had been growing pumpkins during Halloween for years, but the weather ruined her pumpkin patch that year. Concerned that there might not be any pumpkins available for her daughter’s party, she made blown glass pumpkins instead, and put them in the garden. Since then, the studio has made this into a yearly tradition, and the pumpkins have become one of their most popular series of hand-blown glass.
Being a passionate gardener, Stone has found a perfect way to balance gardening and glass blowing. Inspired by what she sees in the garden, she has created glass potatoes, mushrooms, apples, and acorns. All are on display at the studio.
Michael Cohn, Stone’s husband and business partner, has blown glass for about 41 years. He says the process fascinates him. “It’s kind of like a definitely choreographed dance. It’s very fluent, “ he said. “I would think the finished piece as a record of all the moves of the dance. And then here it freezes.”
There are thousands of pieces of art glass in the Cohn-Stone gallery. Prices range from $20 to $1,500.
Cohn and Stone have been holding the October event for about five years. In addition, they also hold an open studio each spring to display new artwork. Their work has been exhibited in many parts throughout the world.
Most people who buy the glass pumpkins don’t want to risk putting them outside in their garden.
Sarah Venderveen, a visitor who has been collecting Cohn-Studio work for three years, said it was fascinating to see the glass pumpkins in the garden setting. “I wonder, could I do that at home? But when I get them home, I want to keep them safe and sound and inside the house,” she said.
“There’s really nothing outside that can hurt them,” Stone said of the glass pumpkins. “They’re good either way.”