They can’t be carved or painted.
And they’re hardly what you’d want in pie.
But the patchwork of delicate glass pumpkins arranged on a long table in the Alumni Center offered buyers choices that, while defying nature, were defined only by the imaginations of their creators.
At Friday’s annual Glass Guild Pumpkin Sale, more than 150 pumpkins, with a few gourds tossed in for variety, sold out before 11 a.m., not even two hours after the doors opened and well before the planned 6 p.m. close time.
“I come every year and know that you have to come early to get the ones you want,” said Andrea Bruno, who along with her mom, Denise Bruno, was carefully examining the white, blue, metallic and, yes, even orange pumpkins spread out before them.
All the pieces are made at the Marilyn K. Glick Center for Glass. That’s where Andrea Bruno enrolled in a community course this year on how to make the specialty squash because she was so taken with the pumpkins.
“We got to make three pumpkins each,” she said. “I have such a different appreciation for this sale this year.”
Like her daughter, Denise Bruno loves both the product and the purpose behind the sale, to help fund student travel and career-building opportunities within the glass working/sculpture fields.
“It’s so nice that this is by students, for students,” she said. “I love that the money goes to benefit students.”
That’s the sentiment that drew Brad Anderson, assistant professor in the Miller College of Business. Anderson arrived as the doors opened to make sure he could collect all the pieces he and his wife needed.
“We have some that will go as gifts, and some we’ll keep,” Anderson said, as he decided on the last of five pumpkins he purchased.
“I collect some antique glass. Actually, I have many family members who have a love for glass, and I’ve missed this sale in the past because they are always sold out before I can get to it.
“I came early to be sure not to miss it.”
Last year, money raised from the sale reduced expenses for students who traveled to Poland to work with Marzena Krzeminska-Baluch, an artist and educator from Poland’s Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design.
Krzeminska-Baluch spent the 2015-16 academic year teaching at Ball State, leading courses in kiln casting and cold-working for students at the Glick Center.
And when she returned to Europe last spring, Ball State students traveled with her to spend two weeks at the academy, working with her, then traveling to glass factories across the Czech Republic.
“That was an unbelievable experience,” said Clayton Burns, a senior fine arts major from Minneapolis. “And the money raised through (the pumpkin sale) meant a lot to students.
“We were able to go to the other side of the world for like $1,200, instead of the $3,500 or something that it would have been. We didn’t have to front the whole cost, and that makes a big difference for students.”