Special to The Gardner News
David Shatto heats and shapes a handmade marble, beginning with a chip of dichroic glass, encasing it in clear glass. He adds a bit of metal, using a slender glass rod over an open flame. Shatto started learning to make marbles as a boy, inspired by Bruce Breslow, founder of the Moon Marble Company.
Twenty eight glass artists will converge for demonstrations and fun for the annual Marble Crazy event at the Moon Marble Company, 600 East Front Street, Bonner Springs, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on March 6, and March 7. Admission is free. The store stocks hundreds of thousands of marbles and offers demonstrations.
Shatto continues shaping the marble. The glass heats to a fierce red, becoming pliable. He shows the effects of swirling the glass a bit, and adds a tiny bit of metal. Soon, he shapes the marble into a sphere, using a graphite mold.
“Graphite is one of the few things that will not stick to hot glass,” Shatto says.
He places the completed marble into a kiln heated to 950 degrees Fahrenheit, so the glass can strengthen. Moon Marble Company offers both handmade marbles and factory made marbles, plus instructions on how to play 22 different marble games. The store features timeless toys, including Legos, board games, kaleidoscopes, Gumby and Pokey dolls, dominoes, hula hoops, and more. The toys include treasures that many grown-up customers haven’t seen since their own childhoods.
“Do you want me to sign that puzzle box?” Breslow asks. “I made most of the marbles in that picture.”
A customer smiles and pulls the puzzle from the shrink wrap, nodding. Nearby, three young children have found sock monkeys.
“They always find something special here,” their mother says.
Marble Crazy will bring artists from across the country to Moon Marble Company. The event has occurred the first weekend in March since the store opened in 1997, Breslow says. He started the store when he was a woodworker, making game boards. When he called up a marble manufacturer to get marbles for his games, he ordered a case of every color and size available. A huge semi-truck pulled up to his place, jam-packed with millions of marbles, and the Moon Marble Company began.
Demonstrations at the store traditionally occur on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, but at Marble Crazy, 28 different artists will share their creativity all day long for two days. An abundance of information on marbles can be found at www.moonmarbles.com.
Marble Crazy to bring 28 artists to area