Friday, November 04, 2011

Glass Class. Part 1.

 Back when Kelly had the cast on her arm, we'd visited a glass studio out on the coast, and I'd told her that when her cast came off, she could have a "Cast Away" party with some friends, and I would take them to the studio to work with hot glass.

The day finally came late last month.

There was a bit of a goat rodeo going on with one of her friends in the days leading up to the party, but apart from the mild annoyance that was partly caused by a miscommunication on my part, which I am going to Consciously Shake Off Now, things all worked out amazingly well.

Kelly had three of her friends stay over, and then a fourth friend joined them in the morning, and we headed over to the coast as the sun shone bright and early.  We were worried that the roads would be a parking lot, as it was the last weekend before Halloween, and the coast is THE place to go for the perfect pumpkin, but we beat the rush, so that was all good.

We got to the studio with 10 minutes to spare, and looked around before the class started.  The artist turned out to be an EXCELLENT teacher, and had a very easy way about him, which is a very good thing when you've got 12-year-olds whipping around red-hot metal rods tipped with molten glass.  I'm happy to say, too, that nobody got injured... except for Kelly.  And that burn has already healed.

He did a little demonstration at first, explaining all of the ins and outs of working with glass.  It was really informative.  Here he's showing the girls the first blob of hot glass that makes up the core of their item.

The girls all got to choose something to make from a little display case.

I was amazed that these intricate pumpkins were one of the options.  I couldn't imagine how one might even begin to make something like that.

The artist gave a demonstration, making a heart, as that was something that two of the girls wanted to make.  He had the two heart-making girls come into the 'zone' to help him out.

It is seriously hot where they are standing.  It's about 70F in the studio, but it's closer to 100F standing where they are.
The glass is so hot when it comes out of the furnace, that it makes the air shimmer.

but within moments, it's changing color, and not so hot.

This piece eventually ended up being purple.  You'd never know it, looking at it, though.
Once the core (with colored glass) was formed the way he wanted it, it was time to go back into the pot for more clear glass.

...and then quickly, before it lost it's fluidity, the blob was flattened on the metal table.

It's the bottom of that blob that will be the finished 'top' of the finished item.

A little more shaping, and it's starting to look heart-like.

Cut with a knife, the lobes of the heart 'fall' around the knife, to make the two bumps of the top of the heart.  Then the pointy bit is pulled with pliers.

He then holds the piece aloft, so it cal fall back on itself, and create a more natural divot near the metal rod.  That's where the piece will eventually be cleaved.

A bit more shaping, and it's done.

And then the piece is held in a finishing oven at 900F for some number of hours, and then gradually cooled overnight.

It was really cool to watch.

Next entry, I'll show you the girls going through the process. But now it's time to pack it in.  Tomorrow, we'll be serving at a Thanksgiving Dinner at a local church that expects to feed between 200 and 300 people.  I'd better make sure I have my white shirt and black pants ready.  The kids are nervous about helping out.  Do they (have to) wear nice clothes and (get to)  help at the tables, or do they (get to) wear grubbies, and (have to) wash dishes in the kitchen.  Decisions, decisions...

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