My weekly adventures for 2014 are coming to a close, but I still managed to get one in I have been meaning to do for a while – glassblowing. Just in time for Xmas ornament season. My friend Rocky went with me, and we had a great time. I, secret pyromaniac that I am, was thrilled, and he was exuberant, and our instructor, Dave, was cool, fun, and a font of knowledge. For instance, he told us about the history of making sand into glass, specifically Venetian glass art, and how most glassblowers learned from others, not from books. His point, which he found so incredible and we did too, was that he had learned his trade via an oral tradition passed down for generations over hundreds of years.
And although what I did was just really play, and not an attempt to really learn the art, I have now crafted melted sand (and unknown chemicals for color) into a thing of beauty. It is transformational. I made two ornaments, as did Rocky, as the iinstructors have you make two in case the first one doesn’t turn out well. That is what happened in my case – one is a little lopsided. but is cute in its way. It definitely looks handcrafted.
Look, Mommie – what I made you for Xmas! (yes, I am bringing one of these home for you.)
This class is not cheap, but the fee of course pays for the cost of running the kilns, which must be pretty expensive due to all the natural gas used to heat them to 2000+ degrees. I do wish they could also harness the energy in the kilns for another purpose as well (all the hot air/fumes seemed to be just vented out – no potential steam generation or anything was tied into the system). The main glass kiln is kept going 24/7 at 2800 degrees. Wow. But the cool thing is that sand is an abundant natural resource.
So that was glassblowing. Very interesting. I must say I am glad I did this around Xmas time – because it is much nicer to have a glass ornament rather than a paperweight, the beginners class taught most of the year. But the glass pumpkins done for Halloween looked very interesting, so maybe I’ll come back next year to do one of those as well.
Now to figure out what to do next week.
P.S. Thanks Rocky for going with me, and letting me use some of your photos!