|Glass. . .
||[Jan. 31st, 2006|08:49 pm]
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.Along with |
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.