Friday, August 3, 2012

Blowing Glass

When I’m on vacation, I like to collect experiences over souvenirs.  At the Oregon Coast, finding a glass float on the beach is a rare souvenir; buying a piece of blown glass from a local artisan is a more common souvenir.  We kind of blended all that together—we found a studio that allows tourists to blow their own glass with the help of a local artisan.  Perfect.  Our helpful artisan, Andrew, was awesome.  He let all four of us trade in and out of the process, so we all got a piece of the action.  Guyan and I started.

First, we donned the safety gear—leather gloves and eye protection.  Looking cool.


First we chose our colors and the object we were going to make—a giant float with green, blue and white.  Kind of like an earth globe.  After setting out the colors, it was time to heat the glass.


After it was nice and molten, Owen was the brave soul who was going to apply the colors.  Careful…he was so good he did it with his eyes closed (kidding!).




…and smoosh, smoosh, smoosh.


Ta-daa!  Color applied.


Time to reheat, and get the color to join in with the molten glass….


Then roll it, and pinch and twist it to make the swirlies.  Lots of pinching and twisting—grab firmly, but don’t jab, we were told.  I think I may have jabbed.


Then heat it and roll it again…(And again and again and again, it seemed.  Lots of reheating and rolling.)


Smooth it out round…


And now blow while it’s hot!  Not too hard…constant, steady…Andrew was a good coach.


Break it off the pole with a large knife over the concrete floor.  No surprise that the professional took over at this point.


Add a dollop of molten glass for a loop handle….


…and voila!  You’re done.  And now all we need to do is make a hanger so we can get it out of the bubble wrap and on display in the house (knew I should have bought a hanger…).

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