Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Glass blowing: Day 4 {Last Day}

I'm sad to say that last night was my last night of the glass blowing classes. It was a scary, exciting, and awesome ride! I learned a little about the art of glass blowing... enough to make some actual blown pieces, as well as paper weights and flowers. I learned that I don't know a lot about glass blowing, too... when watching our instructor, Dennis, work... well... he makes everything look easy, encouraging you to go for it.... and then you find out that your hands just don't have the skills yet, son.

Dennis: making it look easy

Heating up the vase

Talking about the process
The assistants in the class were all knowledgeable and awesome at directing you without totally taking over out of frustration. Ha ha! That would be me, if I were teaching. I loved how they let you make your own mistakes, but wouldn't actually let you totally ruin your piece. (Must be hard to bite your tongue or keep your hands at your sides as a TA!!)

Here are my pieces from last week... a goblet (of fire, ha ha) and a flower (which anyone can make, regardless of how many classes you take or not. It's easy to be impressed by the colors, though!)

Believe it or not, the goblet was much, much harder to make! There are so many steps to creating a blown vessel! Especially one that has a stem or base on it. You need someone to help you, which is why we partner up. While you're keeping your main piece hot, your partner makes the base for you (a "cookie foot") as a blob of molten glass on the steel table. Then you add your piece to that blob, reheat your piece, and then shape the blob into the base. Then you have to have your partner make a "punty" which is another rod with a smaller amount of molten glass (specifically shaped) on the end, cooled to less than moving, and added to the bottom of your piece, so that you can break your piece off at the neck and then shape the opening, having transferred your piece onto the punty. It's insane! All the while, you need to keep your piece hot enough that it's not cooling, which can cause it to crack.

Last night, Dennis showed us how to make a vase. It was HARD. All the steps of the goblet, but also learning how to stretch out the neck of your basic blown shape... and it looked like a snap when he did it, but it's not at all easy to do. I kind of crimped the base of the neck of my piece a bit and wasn't able to fully fix it. However, it's an interesting little vase. I'm excited to show it to you later this week! I can pick up my vase & my last flower on Thursday... so, as I've said before, if you're interested in learning the art of glass blowing, I suggest you give it a shot! It's physically demanding in a way that only large metal welding and smelting can be. It's super fun, too, though, and you definitely get a real sense of accomplishment when you finish up your own pieces of glass art!

I hope you're having a blessed and fun day!

I'm totally considering taking this class again... my partner, Z, wants to, also. If so, I plan to have much more amazing photos for you the next time around!


Terriaw said...

It has been so fun watching you go through these amazing classes! The two pieces you featured here are so beautiful - I just love how they turned out. You must be so proud to showcase these in your house.

Brandi said...

That's so awesome, Shari! I love how it's the flower that catches my eye - funny how the simpler things sometimes look more impressive!

Cynthia said...

oh wow I love that flower it's so pretty I can just imagine if the sun hit the reflections would be awesome.

JT said...

Don't you just love taking classes? Is there a way to do that and make a living? If so, sign me up!

Your flower is really pretty and I'm impressed:)

shari said...

@Terri-I'm glad you've enjoyed following along. I've enjoyed sharing! And thank you!

@Brandi-Thanks! Yes, so true... the simpler things are sometimes the better ones!

@ JT-Yes! I LOVE taking classes! I'm thinking of retaking the glass blowing one, if I can...

@ Cynthia-Thanks so much! I have it sitting by the window... once the sun is out, I'll find out!!

Anonymous said...

The flower is beautiful and looks so much more complicated than the goblet - isn't that funny! I love the light catching all of the colours. Well done on producing such wonderful glass work.

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