Seeing the World through Snow Globes

December 22 2014

Picking up a well made snow globe, shaking it, and watching the flakes swirl around and around is a meditative moment for many of us. That is exactly how Liz Ross and David Westby, co-owners of Cool Snow Globes, Inc., see their creations. They think of their snow globes as mini meditations.

For David, whose title is Director of Snow, the magic happens for two to three minutes. His wife, Liz, agrees. The couple collaborate on a wide range of designs—everything from the Statue of Liberty and the White House to scenes from nature, architecture, and more. According to Liz, “there is no shortage of ideas. We see the whole world and everything in it as a potential snow globe.”

David has a background in film projects, and has worked as a painter and photographer. Liz is a nationally recognized designer and product developer. She has worked for Williams-Sonoma, Restoration Hardware, and Gumps. The couple often joke that their cat, Mookie, supervises.

Liz came up with idea of creating snow globes due to a bout of homesickness. Leaving New York to live in California had her missing leaf peeping season in the fall. She started by sketching a few ideas, and put them in a file. “I was busy with other work, and thought I would get back to this someday,” she says. 

That “someday” came when she developed carpel tunnel syndrome and took some time to recuperate. It was then that she pulled out the drawings, and developed a number of nature-inspired “Serenity Spheres,” as she calls them.

From the start in 2005, Liz and David worked together creating the hand-painted sculptures inside the glass globes. For them, and for others who enjoy holding, swirling, and getting lost in a few moments of time gazing at the art and all of the details inside the snow globes, is captivating.

Liz and David see their craft as harkening back to early history. Their snow globes are made pretty much in the same manner that original snow globes from the 1870s were created. It’s all done by hand, and their sharp attention to detail sometimes borders on the obsessive. When creating a globe in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, the couple spent countless hours figuring out how to recreate the velvet texture of the globe’s central subject, St. Edward’s Crown.

“It’s good to be obsessive in this case,” says Liz. “Paying close attention to all of the details—big and small—makes our snow globes special.”


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