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Glass Blowing - The Experience

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Our Results from our class (2018)

Introduction

I have always wanted to try glass blowing but considered it just a dream due to the high equipment costs.

Lately a friend of my daughters told her about his glass blowing experience and it turns out it was close to our home. My wife bought me a 2-person Groupon for Valentine's day for The Benzaitine Center for the creative arts. Our schedules kept us from going until June, but it was well worth the wait. And so, my daughter and I took the Glass Blowing Class called The Experience. A good time was had by all. We got plenty of hands on experience, but with just enough guidance so that we still ended up with a couple of nice souvenirs to take home. It was obvious that our instructor, Justin, was very experienced, a good teacher, and cared about our experience, education, and safety.

The Fun Begins

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Selecting and preparing the crushed colored glass. (2018)

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Meet Justin Your Instructor. (2018)

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Justin gets the 1st gather from the crucible inside the furnace. (2018)

When cool this glass is clear.

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Adding the 1st color by touching the hot gather to the colored crushed glass. (2018)

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1st color on the gather. (2018)

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Back to a 2nd furnace a.k.a "The Glory Hole" to keep the glass hot and melt in the color. (2018)

You need to keep the pipe rotating so the glass does not droop and is heated evenly.

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Adding a little more color. (2018)

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Re-heat again. (2018)

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Now the second color (2018)

Note how the 2nd color of crushed glass has been prepared in a straight line.

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Adding a 2nd line of color to the opposite side. (2018)

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Back to the glory hole. (2018)

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Twisting the glass, and therefore the 2nd color lines, into a spiral on the marver table. (2018)

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You re-heat a lot. (2018)

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Shaping using a #6 wood block. (2018)

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The 1st hint of a blowing a bubble. (2018)

Capping the blow pipe will cause more expansion of the bubble as the trapped air heats up.

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Here most of the hot glow is gone and you can begin to see the final colors. (2018)

In fact Justin demonstrated the hardness, but not brittleness, of the glass by rapping it on the steel arm of the rolling table. Not sure if this was just a demonstratation or a test as he did it on both of our projects?

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Cooling the blowpipe. (2018)

This clear glass crucible is so hot that special gloves are used to hold the blowpipe. The blowpipe is then cooled by a special water fixture before returning to the work area. This fixture is to the left of the reheat furnace above, where you can see Justin's hand holding the pipe.

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Shaping the now bigger workpiece using a #8 wood block. (2018)

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Shaping on the marver table. (2018)

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Blowing the glass using a blow hose attached to the blow pipe. (2018)

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(2018)

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Note how the glass blows larger in these three photos. (2018)

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Using the jacks (think of tweezers with the ends turned 90 degrees) to prepare for cutting off the workpiece from the blowpipe, at what will become the opening at the top of the vase. (2018)

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Using a wooden paddle to flatten the bottom. (2018)

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Elizabeth (2018)

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Rolling and Cooling (2018)

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A punty rod with a small bit of hot glass on the end is pushed onto the bottom of the work to attach it to the workpiece. (2018)

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Further cooling adds stress to the neck of the glass in preparation for removing the workpiece from the blow pipe. (2018)

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A little rap on the blow pipe with the paddle and the glass breaks as planned. (2018)

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Justin demonstrates using tweezers to shape the glass, (2018)

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Then demonstrates using the shears. (2018)

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The top of the vase is formed using the sides of the jacks. (2018)

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(2018)

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A high tech kitchen knife is used to stress the glass near the punty rod.(2018)

It is then broken off and a torch is used to smooth out the break line.

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Into the annealing oven. (2018)

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Elizabeth's Vase. (2018)

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My Bowl. (2018)