Issaquah 360, May 2013Read article »
In 2004 Art by Fire set out to create a memorial that recognized and celebrated the bravery and courage of those lost on September 11th, without dwelling on the brutality of the acts of that day. With the help and support of fellow glassblowers and Seattle-area students we created over 1000 floats, each as unique as the souls that were lost on that tragic day. The softball-sized floats were created in an array of colors and stamped with the words "Never forget 9-11." They were then hidden on two Seattle beaches for people to discover the morning of September 11, 2004.
As artists, we express ourselves through the medium in which we work. It was our hope that by sharing something so fragile - yet so strong and beautiful - with complete strangers, we would be helping combat the ugliness of the memories of that day, and inspiring people to focus on the beauty around them. We also hoped that while searching for the floats, people might pause to talk to one another about their thoughts, feelings and experiences that day in 2001.
Art by Fire and local glass blowers donated all of the labor, time, and resources involved in the completion of the project. It was in incredibly moving experience for all of us who participated in the project, and the response from the public towards this event was so overwhelmingly positive that we decided to continue it into 2005.
In order to include the next generation we invited two schools to participate. Students from Sammamish High School and Tacoma's Hill Top, a glass blowing program for kids at risk, will help in our efforts this year.
This project started out as a gesture from the artists to our local community, and grew larger than Art by Fire or any of the artists involved could ever have imagined. The Never Forget 9-11 Float Project had the support of Washington State Rep. Sherry Appleton, Legislative Asst. Donna Bezon, the Seattle Fire Department, A.D. Vickory, and . U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell's office is lending assistance to the project as well. The Washington State Capital in Olympia honored us with a resolution regarding the "Never Forget 9-11" Float project. We also have a permanent display in the Lt. Governor's office in Olympia.
Renee Pound and Lenoard Whitfield
Art by Fire