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Bellevue students honor 9/11 victims with glass
Seattle Times Eastside bureau
For some art students at Sammamish High School, choosing how to remember 9/11 victims was literally clear as glass.
Through the area's recent heat wave, they have spent the past couple of weeks in a scorching-hot glass studio carefully crafting a floating tribute.
Led by glass artisan and teacher Jason Moodie of Bothell, about a dozen students at the Bellevue high school completed the last of hundreds of glass floats they're hoping to send to New York for the fifth-anniversary remembrance of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The project is part of a larger effort by Art by Fire, a Seattle glass studio whose owner, Renee Pound, started a float program in 2004 that placed 911 floats in Seattle parks on Sept. 11 that year. In 2005, 911 more were left in the parks for people to take.
This year, Art by Fire plans to send more than 3,000 floats to New York, where the plan is for firefighters from Seattle, New York and Washington, D.C., to present the floats to victims' families.
Moodie's students will contribute their 911 best floats, joining glass blowers at Art by Fire and at a Tacoma glass-blowing program for at-risk teens. Moodie's students finished their 1,000th float Monday.
The softball-size floats are hollow and colored in swirls of cool greens, brilliant blues, vibrant reds and energetic oranges.
If all goes as planned, one float for each of the Sept. 11 victims will be sent to New York.
"For these students, the event itself has become almost a distant memory, but the effects of it haven't," Moodie said. "This gives them a chance to connect to it and remember what happened. It brings it down to home."
Sammamish High School is one of a handful of public high schools in the country that offer a glass-blowing program, Moodie said. Interest in the craft among students is high, he said.
"Ceramics have form and color, but with glass there's light, and that can really move people in different ways."
Jon DuBois, 18, sees glass as "just another medium for people to work with." DuBois, who was moving swiftly among ovens, metal tables with color elements and workbenches, said he hopes the floats will be well-received in New York.
"It's a good way to remember what happened," he said.
Moodie sees the students' creations as a fitting tribute.
"They float, always staying above the water," he said. "That symbolizes a lot."
Stamped on the bottom of each float in plain block letters: "NEVER FORGET 9-11."
Moodie and Sammamish High School paid for most of for the raw materials needed to make the floats. That included about $1,300 for glass and $500 for the coloring elements.
Hot-glass classes at the school typically raise money for materials through a craft sale of student work each year.
The students burned through an average of 200 pounds of glass a day, Moodie said, and when the shop was in full swing, they were making an average of one float every 1-½ minutes.
With the floats ready to go, the group's only problem is getting them to New York in time for this year's 9/11 remembrance ceremonies.
The cost of transporting the fragile pieces across the country is high, Moodie said.
"We're still not sure how to get them there," he said. "But we've got time to find help."
If transport to New York is ruled out financially, the works from this year's project will be placed in parks around Seattle and the Eastside, Moodie said.
Nathan Hurst: 206-464-2112 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company