Dollywood artist helps people make one-of-a-kind holiday gifts

Dollywood artist helps people make one-of-a-kind holiday gifts

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Joe Deanda's works fill Dollywood's glass shop. It's an impressive and colorful exhibit of artistry. Joe Deanda's works fill Dollywood's glass shop. It's an impressive and colorful exhibit of artistry.
"We make a lot of seasonal things. In the fall, we make pumpkins. At Christmas we make snowmen, angels, Christmas ornaments. Snowmen are pretty new and we're making them better this year," Joe Deanda said. "We make a lot of seasonal things. In the fall, we make pumpkins. At Christmas we make snowmen, angels, Christmas ornaments. Snowmen are pretty new and we're making them better this year," Joe Deanda said.
Using a rod, Deanda blows air into the glass and begins to work the material into form, in this case, a snowman. Using a rod, Deanda blows air into the glass and begins to work the material into form, in this case, a snowman.
Eventually it becomes a finished snowman. Eventually it becomes a finished snowman.

By GENE PATTERSON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

PIGEON FORGE (WATE) - So what do you get the person for Christmas who seems to have everything? It's a tough question, but perhaps the answer lies in doing it yourself.

Joe Deanda has been a fixture at Dollywood for more than 27 years, amazing crowds with his mastery of glass blowing.

His works fill Dollywood's glass shop. It's an impressive and colorful exhibit of artistry.

"It's pretty neat, in the morning when you take everything out of the oven that you made the day before and it's like Christmas every morning to see the results of the day before," said Deanda.

On most days, Deanda works in front of large crowds, where he's peppered with questions.  Answering those questions and blowing glass can get complicated. Lose your focus, even for a second, and your work is ruined.

"I tell people it's like trying to give a two-year-old a haircut. You're trying to work on something that won't sit still," said Deanda.

Inside his furnaces, temperatures exceed 2,200 degrees, hot enough to melt sand and turn it into glass the consistency of honey.

Using a rod, Deanda blows air into the glass and begins to work the material into form, in this case, a snowman.

"We make a lot of seasonal things. In the fall, we make pumpkins. At Christmas we make snowmen, angels, Christmas ornaments. Snowmen are pretty new and we're making them better this year," he said.

As he works the glass, it cools, requiring him to return it several times to his furnaces. Don't be fooled though, it's still hot.

"When it goes in that oven, it was still at about 1,000 degrees. The glass begins to soften at about 1,500 degrees. So anything below that is still firm but still pretty hot," he said.

Working quickly, Deanda forms a snowman. Then his assistant, Chris Szaton, adds the eyes, nose and buttons.

From here it heads to a cooling oven and eventually becomes a finished snowman.

If you want to take this one of a kind gift to the next level, how about taking part in making one?

Deanda allowed me to do just that, making not a snowman, but a beautiful Christmas ornament.

Deanda did most of the work, but I'm more than willing to take at least some of the credit.

It's a one of a kind gift, made in Tennessee.

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