Monday, December 22, 2014

Glass Blowing!!!

On Saturday, I tried glass blowing for the first time ever.  It was a bit of a challenge, but I really enjoyed doing it.  The workshop was at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, and I was working with instructor Anne.  She's been doing glass works for many years, and she is now in her third year as a resident artist at the Centre.  


The hot, fiery furnace looking thing above is actually called a Glory Hole.  Yes, really. 
The process begins with a scoop of molten glass (from the boxy looking furnace in the right hand side of the photo).  The glass is stuck on the end of the metal rod.  


The temperature of the Glory Hole is about 2250 degrees Fahrenheit.  Holy shit that's hot!  So, you stick the rod into the Glory Hole and keep rotating it to get some shape.


Then, you dip the mushy lump of molten glass into trays with bits of coloured glass.  You then stick it back in the heat so that the added colour melts in.  The process is repeated a couple of times (as more colours are added). 

  


Then, Anne used tongs to shape the top a bit and to smooth out any stray pieceds around the neck (of the metal rod).  



Then it was time to blow, blow, blow.  The harder you blow, the bigger (and thinner) the ornament becomes.  Throughout the process, the rod must continually spin, or the glass will droop and sag (and your sphere will become a deformed oblong or some other odd shape). 



Because the glass is so darn hot, it needs a day or so to cool down, so I picked it up today (Monday).  


Voila!  

My three ornaments!  The small, turquoise one was a deliberate SNAFU - I just wanted to see how it would look without being forced into shape.  Kinda cool...






Ed and Aurora - two other instructors/resident artists - stood at the ready to add the stem (so the ornament can be hung on a Xmas tree).  It's juts done with more molten glass and a pair of pliers to twist it into shape.  



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