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Doug Ayen

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Glass. . . [Jan. 31st, 2006|08:49 pm]
Doug Ayen
Along with celtic_anyaI took a one-day "Introduction to Glassblowing" course over at Glen Echo Park ( http://www.glenechopark.org ) last Saturday. The class was taught by Rick Sherbert, ( http://www.ricksherbertglass.com ), and it was a lot of fun.

The day started off the way most workshops (including my own) do: a lecture on safety. Of note was Rick's comment to the effect that, yeah, if you keep practicing a craft that involves sharp pointy bits and lots of heat, eventually you'll get hurt.

After the safety lecture, and an overview of the tools and processes, Rick demonstrated the basics of glassblowing: getting a gather of glass, initial shaping, starting the initial bubble, keeping the pipes and punties moving at all times to keep the glass from slumping off center, secondary gathers, shaping the initial blob, finishing the blowing, attaching to the punty and breaking off the blowpipe, opening up the bubble, and the final shaping, then breaking it off the punty and letting it cool in the annealing oven.

After lunch, we got our turns to make some cups. I went first, with Rick doing the initial gather and handing it off for me to do the shaping and blowing. Keeping the glass on-center turned out to be the hardest part -- as you'd expect from a syrupy liquid, it kept flowing down. The initial shaping went quick, as did the first blowing: hard to start, then suddenly all too easy. Rick took over for the 2nd gather once the bubble was formed and the main mass of glass had cooled off a bit. For decoration, we rolled the clear-glass base into some granular pigmented glass -- I got a light blue -- then continued with blowing, shaping, etc. The only real problem I ran into was at the 'knock it off the punty" stage -- there was some woven fiberglass insulation on the place where we were knocking the glass onto, and some loose strands of fiber got onto my cup.

The others then took their turns, and Rick asked me to act as his assistant as I was already familiar with working with hot tools. That translated into hauling hot blowpipes away once the other students were done with them, holding a heat shield in place for the others so they didn't get burnt (Rick had done it for me so I knew where to hold it) as well as using the paddle to form a lip on the other student's work, and opening/closing the annealing kiln as the other work was finished. Two students got mild burns, but not on the arms I was shielding.

While I meant to pick up the glass on the way into work, so far I been unable to. I'll probably not post a picture unless folk really want to see it, as it definitely looks like someone's first effort. :)

While I won't be picking up a new hobby, I did enjoy myself, and encourage others in the area to take advantage of the class if only for the experience.


[User Picture]From: mangosteen
2006-02-01 02:32 am (UTC)
Of note was Rick's comment to the effect that, yeah, if you keep practicing a craft that involves sharp pointy bits and lots of heat, eventually you'll get hurt.

Sigh. Thing is, I'm so averse to getting cut (for no other reason than "don't like unnecessarily bleeding") that the moment that I think I'm in any danger of getting cut, my first reaction is to jump back and quickly lift my hands away from whatever I'm doing. This is not so useful in the kitchen, or with any other hobby involving sharp pointy bits and lots of heat.
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[User Picture]From: corivax
2006-02-01 02:48 am (UTC)
Did they show you Prince Rupert's Drops? I think, given all your metalwork, you'd be very amused by that.
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[User Picture]From: blackanvil
2006-02-01 02:34 pm (UTC)

Prince Rupert's Drops

Nope, though i've fiddled with them on my own. good example of non-linear behavior.
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[User Picture]From: goldilocks_va
2006-02-08 10:38 pm (UTC)

Quick question

A woman in the SCA choir I sing with was telling me that her daughter's boyfriend attended a class last weekend as part of SCA college. It was a blacksmithing class and he was so excited because the guy teaching the class said, "Your barony does not have a blacksmith." And with that he gave him a forge and said, "You take this and become the blacksmith for your Barony."

It was a "pay it forward" kind of thing. The instructor said someone had given it to him, and now he was going to do the same for someone else. The kid, who is eighteen, was delighted and was ecstatic with this being the first SCA class he has ever attended.

My question --> Can I pass your LJ and possibly your email on to them? I think he would be really interested in what ever workshops you have in the future?
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