Growing up in the Pacific Northwest where art glass is as commonplace as Starbucks coffee and cloudy days, it was refreshing to find a talented glass artist right here in Sevier County.
Joe Deanda began creating works on art in glass about 1985 in Santa Barbara, CA.
“I moved here in 1986. The cost of living was too high in Santa Barbara. I saw some people at school working with glass while I attended Santa Barbara City College and thought it was something I’d like to pursue.
“I took a class in art glass for two semesters. After I moved to Sevier County I worked as an apprentice at Dollywood working under Mark Sanders. He is still active making glass and doing shows across the country.”
Deanda says designing and producing art glass is a lot like cooking. “It’s like cooking because you learn to make one thing and then you learn more. It keeps growing.”
With the current title as ‘Master Craftsman’ Deanda’s works can be found at Rainbow Blown Glass Factory at Dollywood.
There is a lot to choose from including bowls, vases, pitchers, Christmas ornaments and platters. According to Deanda, “We have pretty much whatever people want. We’ll try to do whatever we can for people. If they want it in a special color and design we’ll try to accompany them.”
In a way Deanda is as much an draw as the rides at Dollywood. “We are like an attraction,” says Deanda. “People come to Dollywood especially to see crafts and to see things being made by hand.” While at first having people watch him work was a bit nerve racking it has become a fun way to work. “I’ve met a lot of interesting people,” stated Deanda.
With so much creativity in the process of blowing glass you might ask what would be the best part of creating for an artist. For Deanda, it was this: “My favorite part about making glass is when everything is made then it is put into an oven to cool overnight. When I come to work the next day and open the oven it’s like Christmas every morning.”
The process of glass blowing includes taking a mixture of ash, sand, borax, soda ash, and lime. The beautiful silvery colors that can be seen in many of the pieces giving it that iridescences look is applied by spraying various chemicals while the piece is still warm.
While not a collector of art glass himself, Deanda does have a grouping of pieces he has saved over the years of producing the work. But according to Deanda, “None stand out as favorites.” The pieces for sale at Rainbow Blown Glass Factory sell for a fraction of what you might find in an art studio in Seattle. Most pieces range in price from $20 to $100, a bargain to most glass collectors.
“He is known in several circles nationally but he’d never let on to that,” stated brother (swelling with proud) Jim Deanda who is Director of Information Services for the City of Sevierville.
To see Deanda’s work first hand you can check it out at Dollywood during regular business hours. For more information, you can call 865-428-9488. Tell them the Herald Newspapers sent you.

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