As much as we love them, Percolla Reeds may not be the most useful items. They don’t do much more than look cool and bring people joy. They’re decorative, colorful, and unique to our Dearborn studio and our designs. Meant to adorn houseplants with an extra pop of color—and sometimes even provide physical support for growing plants—they’re always a reliable conversation starter.
I’ve used glass accents like this since the moment I was introduced to glass, at both the Henry Ford Museum and at CCS in downtown Detroit, when I was there in ‘92. Anything that hit the glass shop floor was fair game. By collecting small discarded scraps off the hot shop floor, many students in glass are inspired to create new color patterns, projects, and shapes. I took these same kinds of scraps home, keeping my favorites as the years went by.
In 1993, I attended Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, an art school in Maine. I studied under Lino Tagliapietra and in one particular class, he was making cane work for goblets using traditional Italian techniques. A cane is a long strip of glass with colored threads enclosed inside.
Lino gave us the extra scraps he didn’t need that summer and for years I enjoyed these canes in our houseplants. They were little decorative accents that I could reflect on with fond memories of learning in Maine, of good friends, good times, and experimentation in glass.
While in this particular workshop, as a beginning glassblower, I was limited to the work I could make at the time, so I focused on hollow glass “reeds” that I filled with found objects, like natural seeds and shells. The hollow reeds reappeared in my work again in 2005 as I made prototypes for lamps as seen here. (image being held in box)The lamps never evolved into finished products, but making the reeds inspired us to use them in our interior design work. The reeds grew in size and became part of installations in bars, private residences, one golf course, and a Marriott hotel in Ohio.
In 2011, we did our big garden show at Planterra Conservatory in suburban Detroit, showcasing and highlighting the Percolla Reeds in both houseplants and in arrangements specifically designed for gorgeous color and pattern. At outdoor installations for the Troy and Ann Arbor, Michigan, garden shows, some people bought Percolla Reeds but others wanted to MAKE them.
That’s why we designed the Percolla Reed class! Born in the spring of 2013, the class has evolved and grown, incorporating new styles and colors every year. Some Glass Academy patrons make one Percolla Reed every year, while others book a full private session to create three to five reeds, all matched in shape and color, for use together in a single planter.
Because I enjoy the outdoors and the natural world so much, I’ve had a great time photographing the Reeds over the years in different environments. My favorite shots appear over and over in the plantscapes on my personal website. www.MichellePlucinsky.com
If you’d like to try your hand at making a Percolla Reed, check out the class schedule and sign up! https://www.glassacademy.com/collections/frontpage/products/class-decorative-percolla-reedSpecial rates apply when making three to five reeds, so call the studio and talk to Sue for more details. 313-561-4527 https://www.glassacademy.com/pages/contact-us]
If you’re not in the Detroit area, consider shopping our Percolla Reeds on Etsy! We add new reeds weekly, so take a look at what’s currently available! https://www.etsy.com/listing/687182363/yellow-percolla-reed?ref=shop_home_active_23
Percolla Reed Contest
As always, with the Inside the Oven series, we’ll be having a giveaway. This week, I’m going to give you a taste of my personal style. The winner this week will get a tabletop potted plant of my choice with a perfectly placed Percolla Reed to match it!
Glass Academy co-founder Chris Nordin https://www.instagram.com/chrisnordinstudios/has his own perspective on the evolution of the Percolla Reed. On Wednesday, March 20th, around 7pm, he’ll be doing a live Q&A on Facebook to address this very topic so be sure to watch it here: https://www.facebook.com/GlassAcademy/videos/2292035791078168/
What would you like to ask him? We’ll gather the questions you ask us via this email address and let you know who the winner is that evening! For your chance to win the potted plant and matching Percolla Reed, email your questions for Chris to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org