June 1st, 2007


Last weekend I blew…

Last weekend I blew glass for the first time. This is my partner Michael Kessler, standing in front of the “glory hole”. That’s really what they call it. But don’t stick anything in that hole that you wouldn’t want to get melted in the 1250 degree heat.

Mike and I took glassblowing lessons from the “Agnes of Glass” studio in northern Denver. It was a fun all-day class, and a lot of hot hard work. We made two pieces in five hours: a paperweight and a vase.

Working with the glass was amazing. It’s like dangerous, fickle sugar candy. The glass was so hot, that I couldn’t see the colors until it cooled. And now I know why that Dale Chilhuly glass is so expensive. Not only does is the material cost a lot (little piles of colored powder that looks like dyed cocaine piles, and just about as pricey), but the amount of wasted heat must cause amazing energy bills. Making large-scale pieces is hard on your back… dripping molten crystal is heavy!

But the finished product is incredible. I love seeing the twisting shapes and shades in the glass paperweight. Every one is a work of art, and completely unexpected. I’d do it again, but I don’t think I’ll ever own a forge of my own.
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