White House Orders 625 Ornaments from Ohio Glass Artist Jim Maxwell
FOSTORIA, Ohio--Dec. 6, 2002-
Ohio glass artist, Jim Maxwell, got the chance of a lifetime when First Lady Laura Bush commissioned him to create 625 ornaments to be given by the Bush's as holiday gifts this year. The ornaments, each about five inches in diameter, are hand-blown, hand-cut, and sandblasted crystal spheres featuring an engraved picture of The White House.
Each ornament was individually hand-blown from crystal glass at Maxwell's studio and gallery, Foster Glassworks, in Fostoria, Ohio. After it was annealed and cooled, the design was engraved using two processes: sand-carving to create the building outline, monogram and frosted-white look; and hand-engraving to complete the details of the White House design. Finally, each ornament was hand-signed and numbered by Maxwell. (Please visit www.fosterglass.com to see a photo of the White House ornament).
Mrs. Bush realized Maxwell's talents last year after he was chosen by Ohio Governor Bob Taft and his wife, Hope, as one of four artists from Ohio to create an ornament for the official 2001 White House Christmas Tree. The previous year, Maxwell submitted an ornament for Mrs. Taft's "2000 Treasures for the Tree Contest" in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the Governor's residence.
This isn't the first time Maxwell has created a piece of glass for the White House. While working for the Tiffin Glass Company, Maxwell engraved 144 pieces of stemware, ordered by the Reagan White House, for the visit of Queen Elizabeth to the U.S. in 1983.
Maxwell has been in the glass business for over 29 years, beginning his career as a glass engraver in 1973 at the Tiffin Crystal Co. In 1983, Maxwell opened a small glassblowing and engraving business in Tiffin, Ohio. At this time he concentrated on engraving custom designs, monogramming and replicating homes and buildings on glass while learning the art of glass blowing.
Eventually, he became a skilled glassblower and now blows and decorates each one of his annual Limited Edition Christmas Ornaments. This year marks his twenty-sixth year of producing this popular annual ornament. In addition to ornaments, Maxwell also blows paperweights, perfume bottles and unique "handkerchief bowls," named after their non-symmetrical shapes.
Maxwell now operates a glassblowing and decorating business called Foster Glassworks in downtown Fostoria, Ohio, about 50 miles south of Toledo. His studio and gallery is located at 103 N. Main St. where visitors can watch him create his glass art. The gallery contains a variety of hand- blown artwork as well as stemware, barware, candles, lampwork sculptures, sun catchers, paperweights, and other giftware items. Hours are Monday through Friday 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit www.fosterglass.com to see a wide variety of Jim Maxwell's glass creations.
CONTACT: Foster Glassworks
Kim Maxwell, 419/435-1995 or 888/258-9414, e-mail: Jmaxglass@aol.com