Former Splash cover stars Pearl Jam turned us on to glassybaby, founded by friend-of-the-band Lee Rhodes. After her third cancer diagnosis in 1995, Rhodes began selling glass-blown candle votives — handmade by American artisans — out of her garage to raise funds that would help fellow cancer patients cover day-to-day costs. Nearly two decades later, the company has raised more than $2.2 million for the White Light Fund for oncology patients, as well as nonprofits like Conservation International and Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy Foundation. Local glassybaby pop-ups have contributed to such organizations as the Greater Chicago Food Depository and Lurie Children’s Hospital.
“I was 32 years old and had lung cancer and three young children. … Who has $16 for a ham sandwich and salad [at a hospital cafeteria]? What mother of three has $32 for parking? People couldn’t get chemo because they couldn’t pay for parking. … I was supported going into it [but] other people aren’t.”
What’s in a name
“The very first [votives] were tiny little things; we started giving them as baby presents. [The name] glassybaby just rolled off the tongue; we loved the way it looks — though everyone asks what our ‘glass babies’ look like.”
“Everyone steals them from me. I bring home new ones and then look around and realize people put them in their bags. I have them out everywhere, filled with pencils or my reading glasses. We light some every night. You can’t go wrong, there’s no perfect mix. They all go together — because they’re from nature, they’re all tonally correct.”
“We have a glassybaby [color] that was born Sept. 1 called Princess [pictured above], a really light pink. I’m not a pink person — I don’t wear it, I have none [in my] home — but there’s something really calm and renewing about this color, like everything’s going to be OK.”
Shop the votives ($44 and up) at Glassybaby.com.