I love to watch glass artists but never thought I'd have the chance to try being one myself. That happened this past weekend because of a Mother's Day gift. It was a great experience with five other participants and the instructor, Logan.
Logan knows everyone wants to try blowing glass to see what that is like. It is hard! He assured us that no one ever keeps the item blown in this class, it is just for the experience. Imagine blowing up a balloon that doesn't want to get started. It was much like that. With no training, our blown pieces had a life of their own and after photos were taken, they were broken to be recycled.
Here is the last picture with the glass outlined. Odd shape, right?
|I shall call this masterpiece: Kermit, in fetal position with looming shadow|
Three of the students made flowers and the others made paperweights. These began with gathered glass on a rod that was dipped in our choice of colors (mine were blue, white, yellow and green) and then shaped much the way the practice piece was done. Snipping into the glass creates places for air bubbles to form in the paperweight, a look that I was going for. After that step, it was dipped in clear glass again, rolled on a metal table, and the rounded paperweight shape was achieved by rolling the rod to turn the glass while it rested in a wooden cup-like tool.
Once that was done, the paperweight was removed from the rod by Logan. I held a torch to the bottom of the paperweight until the glass was glowing again. He smacked the bottom with something that resembled a wooden spool. This flattened the bottom. At this point in all of the glass creations, they went to an annealing oven where they cooled slowly for 72 hours.
Here is the paperweight immediately after shaping. It still looks more orange and red, yet I didn't use either of those colors.
Yesterday I returned to pick up the cooled items. I am very happy with my paperweight!