Episode One of our brand new podcast is available now! Listen here!
An ornament to cherish! August 15, 2016

A guest blog post from Lisa Kelechava, Joy To The World Collectibles Founder/President. Joy To The World Collectibles is the maker of our vertical sign ornament.

Joy To The World Collectibles has designed high-end, handcrafted ornaments of iconic structures for clients across the country. Though Joy To The World serves clients across the country, Knoxville and the Tennessee Theatre hold a special attachment for us. We were proud to be able to celebrate a significant building in our hometown’s history and be a part of the marquee and sign project by creating this special keepsake from which proceeds of their sale will go toward the refurbishment. I recently returned from Poland, where I traveled to oversee the production of the special ornament using 100-year-old European glassblowing techniques. The process is four steps: sculpting of the mould, pouring of the mould, glassblowing, and final decoration.

The process begins with a ball of clay. The Tennessee Theatre ornament comes to life by the sculptor’s hands in making an exact replica of this beloved Knoxville landmark. The deep relief and detail need to be created within the mold itself.  It takes a few days to work with the sculpt until we get it just right. Each individual letter was carefully sculpted, sized, and incorporated into the sculpt.

Tennessee Sign Facebook Ad REV2

An artist from Poland stands on Gay Street to construct the clay sculpt of the vertical sign.

Once the clay sculpt is completed, a steel two-part mould is made using old-fashioned processes at a foundry in Poland.  The mould is hand-poured and then cooled. After the steel is made, the mold is engraved, polished and ready for the next phase of production – glassblowing.

Our glassblowers are highly-skilled artisans spending decades perfecting their craft.  The glassblower heats a glass tube to a high-enough temperature to where a ball of glass or an “olive” can be created. The heat then is focused on the “olive.” When the “olive” achieves the right temperature, it is quickly placed into the bottom of the mold. The top part of the mold is dropped down, and with one puff of air from the artisan’s mouth, the glass takes the shape of the ornament.

Once the glass is blown, it then moves to the decorating floor where the magic really happens.  It takes an average of seven working days to create each Joy To The World ornament.  Every brush stroke and every touch of glitter is done completely by hand.  Most of our paints are custom-mixed, and many of our glitter colors also are custom-made.  The goal for the finish of the Tennessee Theatre ornament was to capture the look of the sign when it is lit up at night. This required using just the right combination of paint with glitter. We also added lots of texture, relief, and detail to the Tennessee Theatre ornament to capture the look of the vertical sign.


The entire blown glass ornament gets decorated by hand!

Lisa Kelechava, Joy To The World Collectibles Founder/President

Ornament with Sign

We are simply thrilled with these ornaments! They are just gorgeous! They are for sale in our Ticket Office located on the side of the theater on Clinch Avenue or at our online gift shop. Click image to visit the online gift shop.

Return to the Blog