Thursday, March 3, 2011

Glass Blowing

This is another "catch up post".  I still have a lot of things I never got around to blogging about.  I'll pop them in here and there.

A few months ago, I spent some time on the Oregon Coast with my friends, Liz and Diane.  Liz surprised us with the trip, and took us to a glass blowers in Lincoln City, Oregon.  While Liz took these photos, Diane and I took turns working alongside a professional glass blower who helped us to make our own glass bowls.  Can you believe it?  I was a glass blower for a day!  Well... sort of.  I did it, but I was expertly guided every step of the way. 

In case you're ever in the northwest and want to try this, the studio is called the Jennifer Sears Glass Art Studio.  You can make all kinds of things- not just bowls.  You should see their gallery--- WOW!




 Here's where it all started.  This is a pile of various shades of green glass pieces.

I have no idea what all this stuff is called, so if you know anything about glass blowing- forgive me and just chuckle as I try to describe this.

Here we are, dipping into the big oven full of molten glass for a starter "blob" of molten glass.  (See... I told you I don't know what this stuff is called).




 Now the blob of molten glass, which is pretty much colorless (I think) gets rolled in the green pieces.




I felt like I was rolling snickerdoodle dough in cinnamon sugar.... only the dough was a bazillion degrees and heavy.




 We went through several rounds of heating and shaping, heating and shaping.  The green glass is there.... it really is.... it's just really hot and looks orange.

Here I have a tool that sort of looks like tweezers and I'm taking bites out of the glass and twisting my wrist.  This makes the green go all swirly.  You'll see later.


 Back into the oven.  There's a stand that I am resting the rod onto as I keep rotating the glass.  This is really work!  The long metal rod is heavy enough, and there's a big chunk of glass waaaaaay on the other end that wants to drip to the floor if I don't keep rotating it.



 Here the guy who actually knows what he's doing is shaping the glass in this rubber cup thing.  I'm standing there with my big yellow gloves in awe of his skill.



Then he attached a long tube to the end of the rod that has the glass on it.and told me to gently blow into it.
I kept blowing into the tube and then I heard a POP.  The glass blew a little hole at the end.





 Then back into the oven.....


 And now we take the tweezer thingies again and start opening up the hole.

Back into the oven.... open it up a little more.... back into the oven....


 And now the real magic begins.  I kept swirling it and opening it as the weight of the glass started to fold back onto itself and create ripples.

You can see that he is allowing it to cool and it's starting to look green.




 Is this cool, or what?

To get it off the rod, he's using a sawing motion to cut the base.  The highly specialized tool he's using is a kitchen knife.  (I know what that's called)

I don't have a picture of it, but he turned it upside down on a towel, and popped the rod with a hammer (maybe it was a mallet) and the rod separated from the glass.
 He took a small piece of molten glass and applied it to the base.  He's using what looks like some kind of trowel to shape the foot of the bowl.

Then he put it right into an oven which was really hot, but not hot enough to melt the glass again.  The bowl had to stay there overnight as the oven lowered temperature very slowly.  This creates a stronger glass piece without hairline cracks.  We had to come back the next afternoon to get our bowls.
Diane went through the same process and made a purple bowl.  When we returned home, Liz took this picture of us in front of her dahlia garden.... nice backdrop for our colorful bowls!

I still can't believe I made a glass bowl!

Thanks, Liz and Diane.  I had a memorable trip to the beach... and I have a bowl to remind me of it.

17 comments:

Khalila said...

WOW, those are beautiful! How fun you got to make them yourselves too. Definitely going to be on my list of things to do someday.

QuiltSue said...

Oh that sounds like such fun, and what a great memento you have of your time with friends.

Jackie said...

What a unique experience! I've never heard of anyone doing that. Your bowls are gorgeous, I love all the swirls!

Joanne said...

WOW! The bowls are amazing! What a wonderful opportunity.♥

krisgray said...

How cool to make your own bowl - so lovely.

Stray Stitches said...

How fun! Your bowl is beautiful!! Thanks for sharing your experience.

Carol said...

WOW! that is so cool and sounds like so much fun! I have always been fascinated with glass blowing.

KCina said...

Sue, this is AWESOME...I'm gonna tell Victor I want to do this the next time we go to the coast...It IS on my bucket list... :)

Needled Mom said...

Fascinating!!! I would love to give that a try. The bowls are just gorgeous!!!!

Lynne4444 said...

Wow!! what a great thing to be able to do and your bowls are fabulous!!

arts4all said...

Making your own blown-glass bowl has to be a peak experience!!! I'm a green girl, so yours is my fave, but I could learn to love purple, too ;-0 Both bowls are super......

Patty said...

Sounds like a blast! Your bowls came out beautiful.

Judy S. said...

I LOVE the OR Coast! We just got back from driving to CA via Reesport on down to avoid snow on I-5; there was even a tiny bit on 101. Next time we must go to Lincoln City as we've been intrigued with the Hot Shop at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma. How cool to actually make your own bowl. BTW, did you make those mystery socks on the last Brewery KAL? Thought I saw your name there.....

quiltmom said...

What gorgeous bowls Sue- I love glass and have always been intrigued by the way that glass was made.
Your bowls certainly are treasures- I love the colors you chose- two of my favorite colors..
Thanks for sharing your trip- looks like it was a fantastic time.
Warmest regards,
Anna

Vicky said...

We have been by that shop and my DIL and I talked about trying it. Now that I have seen how much fun it was, I definitely think that next trip, she and I will take the time to do this. Thanks for sharing.

Melissa said...

Gorgeous, and how much fun!

SewCalGal said...

Beautiful. I've always wanted to do this. Love it. Lucky you.

SewCalGal
www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com