About 7 weeks ago now, I started taking glassblowing classes at Seattle Glassblowing Studio. I’ve never been much of an art person, but I do enjoy it quite a bit.
The actual class I too was 6 week, 4 hours a week. Now that sounds like a lot, but you really can’t have enough practice. Also, you work in teams. There were 3 students in the class, and 1 instructor. Sometimes there might be all 4 of us working together to complete a piece.
Week 1, started with some basics, pulling glass out shaping, cooling, heating. And I ended up with a paperweight. The second week, we still worked in solids, I moved on to a pineapple (paperweight, with leaves on top and spots on the side).
After that, we started actually using blow pipes to make bubbles. From there, you can make all kinds of things. We did ornaments, floats, bowls, cups, and my favorite, plates. (Image on the right).
Plates are complicated. After some practice, I can make one in about 30 minutes now. It turns out that speed is on your side, making it fast is a good thing. The basic process is this. I’m leaving out lots of heating steps, those are in there.
- Gather glass
- Color – For the yellow plate, I did 4 or 5 coats of yellow frit
- start the bubble – lesson learned – hot glass is your friend
- Gather on top of the bubble
- Continue to expand and shape the bubble, cooling the top and flattening it a bit (it becomes the bottom)
- Use an optimic mold to get the waves in the plate
- Add the foot onto the bottom of the plate, optionally make it mountable
- Transfer the plate to puntie
- This is where it gets fun. Open the hole on the opposite end a little more now (the end previously connected to the blow pipe)
- Add the lip wrap (the orange in this case). Someone else has been preparing and coloring this for about 2-3 minutes – teamwork and timing
- Open the hole a little more, so that this starts to look like a cup/funky bowl
- And the really fun part – keep the plate in the glory hole, and spin. The spinning opens up the bowl into a flat-ish plate
- Remove from the heat, but continue to spin the plate, this allows you to shape it further in to a flat or more bowl like structure
- Very very very very carefully break it off and transfer the anealer We made 4 plates, only 1 survived with zero cracks. I know some tricks now though.
So, kind of a new hobby. Something you can’t really do at home. For now, I’ve signed up for the next class, and will be taking 4 more classes starting next month.
Here is a better selection of pictures I took during the class.