A bit over 10 years ago, Mark Angelo Askew bought a small mechanical blowing machine to satisfy his childhood fascination with soap bubbles. Little did he know that bubble blowing would become his retirement project for himself and Brenda Marie, his wife of 38 years.

Askew, who had a graphic design and web developing business at the time, used the machine to blow bubbles during a church picnic at Centennial Park. He was touched by the joy the bubbles brought. Older church folks noticed too and started giving him more bubble machines. Soon he had quite a collection, which he used during family and church social events.

He started to refine his techniques, developing his own soap mixtures and making custom wands by tying together dozens of small ones into large hoops, some with a 3-foot diameter. These wands can make hundreds of small- to medium-sized bubbles in one pass. He made large circular wands that can make bubbles big enough to fill a room or enclose a child or partially cover an adult. He’s even installed LED lights in the wands for this year’s Light City events.

About three years ago, he and his wife started to do paid shows. He also published an e-book, “The Art of Bubble Blowing.”

On Thursday, Mark and Brenda performed at the Maryland Institute College of Art. MICA students gathered to take pictures and then tweeted them. Some pulled out their drawing pads. Others, like Julia Manhire, stepped a little closer and giggled as Askew smiled, then enclosed her from head to shoulder inside a soap bubble.

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