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Hand-Blown Glass Floats by bellaballs

I recently had a chance encounter on Facebook with glass artist, Diane Hansen, who opened my eyes to the world of bellaballs. As a lover of blown glass and glass floats it was destiny that I meet one of the founders of this phenominal company based in the Pacific Northwest. bellaballs are hand-blown glass floats, available in 77 colors, individually made by artisans and their designs come from long time friends, Diane Hansen and designer Lesli Jacobs-McHugh

Why do we love bellaballs? They're beautiful! Beautiful owners, beautiful product, beautiful concept, beautiful that they give back to their community and beautiful that they are handmade in our home state of Washington.

Bellaballs Founders ~ Diane Hansen & Lesli Jacobs-McHugh

The idea for bellaballs was born from the giving of gifts. That’s why giving back to the community is a central part of who the company is. Each year, bellaballs selects one of their signature designs as their annual Charity Ball. 
"Our torn and tattered cause ribbon represents the battle. Our bella reminds us of the cure.  For every bella Rosa with the Cause Ribbon adornment you purchase, 10% of the profits will go to a non-profit organization in the community and will give help to those who need it.  This year’s beneficiary of the Charity Ball is Susan G. Komen for the cure."

2010 Charity Ball

"Japanese floats can teach us a lot about giving.
The kindness we show today will come back to us when we need it most."

"Each bella is made in the ancient tradition of Japanese fishing floats. These floats were used since the mid-1800s to hold up fishing nets cast out in the Pacific Ocean. But the ocean is a tough place. Waves often tore the nets apart. The freed floats would spend years upon the waves. A special few always ended up on world beaches, waiting to be discovered by the most blessed of beachcombers. We take this as proof that what we consider as ordinary does occasionally transform itself into beautiful treasure."

"We like transformation. That’s what glass art is all about. Glass floats start life humbly. They get tossed by the storms. But they endure. They display a strength that belies their fragile appearance. They get more beautiful as they go along. We like that, too."

Celestial Moon bella

Frosted bella

8 Questions with bellaballs founders, Diane & Lesli

Why is glass art usually so expensive?

“Glass art is justifiably pricey. Unlike oil painting, you can’t do it in your living room. It takes years of apprenticeships and studios full of industrial equipment. It takes a team of artists to make even a simple piece.” – Diane Hansen

Why is your glass art so affordable?

“It’s affordable only out of our determination to make it so. By focusing only on glass floats, we’ve become really good at making them. Each bella still represents a surprising amount of work and years of honing this crazy, complicated craft.” – Diane Hansen (see our process here)

Why do you only make glass floats?

“We believe in doing one thing and doing it well. And we love glass floats. The fishing float is made of the most fragile of materials, but can withstand the battering of the roughest of seas. And it becomes more beautiful as it goes along, just like we do.” – Lesli Jacobs-McHugh

Why are you located in Tacoma, Washington?

“Two reasons: Tacoma is home. We love it here. And Tacoma is a world-renowned center for glass art, which gives us access to some of the most highly-skilled production artists anywhere. It’s great to be part of such a talented community.” – Diane Hansen

Can you really make a business out of just one kind of product?

“You can when it’s a remarkable product. Ours is. We’re confident that getting a piece of glass art that feels this exotic and looks this beautiful for such a reasonable price point will make our customers want to tell their friends. So far, that’s exactly how it’s worked.” – Lesli Jacobs-McHugh

How do the skills of your two founders compliment each other?

“It’s a remarkable partnership—one I am so thankful for. The combination of my interior design background and Diane’s mastery of the craft of glass art have resulted in pieces that bring beauty to every space and every life event.” – Lesli Jacobs-McHugh

Why does your logo include a fig leaf?

“The fig in our logo symbolizes abundance and prosperity. And figs are delicious. Especially when served with vanilla ice cream. So why not a fig?” – Diane Hansen

What’s the appropriate use for a bella? 

“Please use bellas beautifully. bellas look great in the center of a table, decorating a place setting, nestled into a bookcase, stacked in a bowl, resting on a pillow, hidden under a bush, floating in pond, or just about anywhere else a little unexpected beauty might brighten someone’s day. And if that someone is you, all the better.” – Lesli Jacobs-McHugh

The magic of bellas is that they bring as much joy to the giver as to the lucky person who gets one.

Shop for bellaballs at


  1. I have always loved glass floats and these are beautiful. It always amazed me that they are so delicate but can also handle what the ocean does.

    Also liked the questions and answers and agree that if you have a great product and devote your time to that you can do well. Great article!

  2. Hi Marie! I hadn't had the chance to come and meet your blog... I have to say it's lovely! I've always loved hand-blown glass... soooo beautiful! Thank you so much for visiting Casa Haus the other day.;) I'll be following!

  3. I love all the pretty colors in the contemporary versions of glass floats..., you'll never see these bright colors in authentic ones -beautiful!!

  4. I have had the pleasure of seeing the Bellas first hand at the studio-showroom. They are inspiring and collectible. They make lovely gifts and are even more meaningful because of the story behind them.

  5. A great range of color and I like that they are made in the old traditional ways.

  6. I love these Bellas!!! What an amazing process! Good ideas for Christmas presents!! Thanks for sharing!!


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