Hope floats at bellaballs.

Since the original concept for designing their glass bellaballs was inspired by and made in the ancient tradition of Japanese fishing floats, the owners want to personally reach out to Japan in the true spirit of giving. To help rebuild and give back in the aftermath of a tsunami and earthquake disaster, locally-owned bellaballs will be donating 10% of their March sales to the Red Cross to help their friends in Japan.

“When I heard the news of the earthquake, tsunami, and ensuing tragedies, my first thought was, What can I do to help? It occurred to me that the Japanese float, which we use as a symbol of strength, endurance and resilience, also connects us to a part of the world that is at the forefront of the news and on our minds right now,” said Diane Hansen, owner and glass artist at bellaballs.

“One of the reasons its important for me to help is because I lived in Japan for 3 years. My memories of the country and the people are vivid. Japan is home to some of the most gracious and loving people I have ever met,” said Lesli Jacobs-McHugh, owner and designer at bellaballs.

These two Northwest women combined their passion for life, beauty, and art to create a business where it’s all about beautiful. Renowned local glass artist, Diane Hansen, and illustrious interior designer, Lesli Jacobs-McHugh, launched bellaballs [www.bellaballs.com], a distinctive collection of affordable, hand-blown glass art based in Tacoma, WA. Because both women met during adverse times in their lives, it was through the sharing of difficult experiences that a strong friendship blossomed. A life-changing moment occurred when they discovered each shared a mutual love for Japanese fishing floats. That the glass float humbly begins by holding up fishing nets then breaks free when violent storms hit was a powerful lesson in courage and strength to them. As the float travels the world over on rugged seas, it finally ends up resting on a beach, transformed into a treasure for some lucky beachcomber to find. This metaphor of strength and beauty was so profound, it inspired Diane and Lesli to start bellaballs.

“We decided to take the simple object with its powerful history and elevate it to a level of great importance. We created art that is not only beautiful in its own right, but bellas serve to remind both the giver and the receiver that living beautifully is a choice. Through weathering the storms of life, we each become more beautiful,” said Hansen.

“We all need to be reminded that we’re stronger than we look. That we can start new. That we’re beautiful,” said Jacobs-McHugh.

For both women, bellaballs was the perfect way to celebrate the beauty and strength found within us all. Glass looks fragile, but it is remarkably resilient and strong—just like the people of Japan.

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