Glass artist Jason Mack works on the glass tree he created in 2020 in Champaign, Illinois. Photo courtesy

WILLIAMS BAY — The Ice Castles have become a mesmerizing part of the holidays in Walworth County for quite a few years, and now a new spectacle is about to go up at Yerkes observatory in Williams Bay.

Rob Elliott and glass artist Jason Mack are set to build the World’s Tallest Glass Tree at Yerkes throughout three weekends in December 2022, according to a social media post from Yerkes.

The tree will be crafted using recycled glass bottles donated by the community.

The project will be free to the public to view, and the endeavor promotes lifelong family memories, inspiring children and adults alike, according to the creators.

They’re asking visitors to bring their bottles and prepare to witness a holiday miracle.

In year’s past, the tree has been built in Champaign, Illinois, where Mack owns Mack Glass, his glass studio. This will be the first year in Lake Geneva.

For more than 10 years, Mack has been experimenting with different methods using hot glass to create large on-site sculptures, according to a story from Illinois State University, where Mack graduated.

Mack explained the process for creating the 2020 tree: “First we sort and crush the glass. Then we shovel it into the 2,300-degree furnace in a 50/50 mix of green and clear glass. The following day we begin with 300 pounds of liquid glass in the furnace. We gather it out of the furnace with steel irons. Then we bring it to the 31-foot-tall spinning steel armature and wrap it up like cotton candy until we have 4,000 pounds of glass on it.”

By Dan Plutchak

Dan Plutchak launched Walworth County Community News in 2021. He is the former editor of The Week and Walworth County Sunday.