Time: 3 hours
During the month, someone suggested "glass blowing." Google found a glass blowing school in Boston, Diablo, which had introductory classes / wine-tasting on Friday nights.
In this class we learned the basics of glass making and each made a glass paperweight, which was accomplished by:
- Gathering a small blob of molten glass around the end of a long metal pipe, about twice the size of a fist.
- Pressing the glass into heaps of small colored glass pebbles which partially melted on contact with the blob.
- While turning the rod to keep the glass together, teasing the glass with a pair of tongs to create interesting patterns.
- Once the pattern was created, pinching the glass to create a neckline, then breaking the glass from the rod at the neckline.
- Remelting the break point and flattening it to create the bottom of the paperweight.
- Leaving the paperweight in an oven to cool.
Step 6 seems strange. To demonstrate its purpose, our instructor left a glass blob to cool on the floor in one corner of the room. A few minutes later it exploded as the uneven cooling created stress fractures throughout the glass. Slowly cooling in an over allowed the stress to be released gradually.
|To keep the glass hot while working on it, we would periodically reheat it in a crucible they called a "glory hole." Please trust me that's what it's called and do not Google that term.|
|Working with molten glass is slightly unnerving. Your hands are less than a foot from molten glass that's somewhere north of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. That glass isn't orange, it's glowing.|
|This is what it looked like after cooling. It's a slightly asymmetric teardrop and I love it.|