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All about Creating Glass

There is nothing more exciting for us than having someone see glassblowing for the first time up close and personal. Typically there is this massive smile on the participant’s face and sparkle in their eye. Their heart is pounding so hard, and you can almost hear it. That is why we call our first-time adventures with glass Experiences.  

Experiences

We offer a variety of Experiences that someone can do once or twenty times. The customer uses our online booking system to decide what to make and when to make it. There are a couple of individual experiences, but we have two people involved most of the time, and we make two pieces, so each person gets a choice. After all, glassblowing is naturally a team effort, and sometimes it takes two or an entire village! For our Experiences, we work with up to four people. After that, we call them Events! There is always the ability to reserve adjacent time slots so more than four people can participate. If those are available, it is a great way to have fun together. If you need help finding them or you need more than three slots, give us a call.  

In an Experience, you get to pick out your forms and make any decisions for that form. We have over 100 colors, so you get to pick two of these for your piece. Sometimes this is the most challenging part and can take the most extended amount of time. You will get to help apply the color and then assist in blowing and shaping the piece as much as health protocols will allow.

Your experienced guide, known in glass terms as the gaffer, will share exciting factoids with you. So enjoy the learning too!

Glass must cool slowly in the annealer, a specialty kiln that will keep them warm till the end of the day (set at about 940 degrees F). After that, they will be taken down slowly to their strain point, about another 100 degrees lower until they equilibrate and then down 40 degrees /hour until ambient. So your piece won’t be ready to take home until about noon on our next business day.  

Watch & Learn

Developed and available for the height of the covid pandemic. We modified our format and added additional health protocols to keep both you and our glassmakers safe!   You still get to select the forms and the colors and we make them for you while you watch.  Because our glassmakers will be blowing glass they will not be wearing facial coverings.  The pipes, benches, and equipment are being sanitized regularly and we ask that you wear facial coverings and honor social distancing!  Because this is not a hands-on experience no safety waivers are required.  The Book Now button still works to make your reservations! When these are offered there are no Experiences or Classes to limit the sharing of germs.  We hope to transition to our new normal in the next few months.

Events

An Event in the hot shop is when you have more than about four people. For Events, there are lots of options. You can choose what forms the group will make, and then, everyone will get to choose their individualized colors. Each person can make a piece of Glass. Another option is to make the pieces ahead of time, and then the group could watch the creation of a medium-large piece of art live. If you choose to purchase it, the glass art could belong to the group or an individual. Another option is to have everyone participate in making one piece that will go to one individual. The possibilities are pretty limitless. Call us, and we will help make your event meet your needs!  

Classes

Want to learn to blow glass? Want to start back after a lengthy hiatus? Then take one of our Six-Week Glassblowing Class Sessions.

We love teaching, sharing our knowledge, and enthusiasm for Glass as the material of choice. We use a systemic approach to teach glassblowing in a series of three progressive six-week classes. 

Classes in our six-week sessions meet one time a week for three hours for six weeks. If you miss a class, it is best to make it up before the next one so that you can stay on track (we allow one free make-up per six-week session). Each class and course builds on the previous one. 

The six-week sessions require a minimum of two students. Four students are the maximum per instructor. So, there is plenty of one-on-one time.  

If you have limited experience, you begin with the foundation course, Introduction to Beginning Glassblowing. If you are uncertain of your placement, we provide a skills test, and the results determine the appropriate level. After you complete the first six-week session, if you feel you are ready (and we agree), you can begin to rent time in the studio to practice and build on what you have learned. Our glassblowing instruction series is a systematic approach, with each session building on the previous learnings.

Introduction to Beginning Glassblowing I (six-week session)

Learn about the magic of hot glass! Come alone or sign up with some friends for this six-week series of learning to blow glass. The class always begins with safety and studio protocol. We will provide you with references and critical internet links to enhance our teaching and your learning. You will learn how to gather from the furnace, mount the bench, and use the tools! Then you will learn to shape your Glass and blow a bubble. There’s an art to each one of these skills. To blow Glass well takes a lot of practice, building muscle memory, and getting used to the studio environment. We will teach you about equipment, working temperatures, and how Glass must cool slowly. You will be learning the fundamental skills that you will use whenever you blow Glass for the rest of your life! There will be some simple projects in clear Glass, which may include a caterpillar, ornament, implosion bowl, cup, a cup with a handle, and perhaps a 7-inch cylinder. What you end up with is your creation, not something made by the instructor. 

Focus on Forms – Glassblowing II (six-week session)

During this six-week session, you will build on what you have learned in the Intro class. During the initial six-week session, you learned how to make the first of the six primary glassblowing forms, the cylinder. This session focuses on learning how to make the other five fundamental Glass blowing forms. You will start learning how to assist others and work together as a team. Both the Intro and Focus on Forms classes use clear Glass only. That way, you are learning skills without the influence and complication of color.  

Focus on Color – Glassblowing III (six-week session)

Focus on Color is the third and final six-week session in our progressive series. You must have attended our first two six-week classes (Intro to Glass Blowing and Focus on Forms) or have the instructor’s approval. The expectation is that you have experience gathering from the furnace, making a punty, working as both a gaffer and an assistant and that you can successfully make the six primary forms. This class has a focus on the application of color. It starts with applying colored frit and learning how to transition from one color to another, twist the color and apply one color as a backing. It moves on to the use of color bars and the application of color in an overlay. During the last two classes, there will be demonstrations (only) of cane & murrini making and incorporating them in a piece.

1 Hour Skill Building Class

Glassblowing experience required. You may sign up if you are one of our renters, who have already undergone a competency test, or you are currently enrolled or have previously taken at least one of our Six Week Session Glass Blowing Classes. Define what skill you would like to work on and sign up for the time. You may not make a piece, but you certainly will get practice. We will work with a maximum of two people in this one-hour class. You can sign up for multiple hours if needed.

Four-Day Glassblowing Intensive

We will offer a four-day intensive Introduction to Beginning Glassblowing on occasion (Spring Break, Winter Break, or early Summer). These 4-days cover the same material as the six-week session by the same name.  

Sally Pennington Moore
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