I know, I already sort of explained the glass blowing process, way back after my first lesson. But it is hard to take photos while working with molten glass. For my third and final class, I showed up a little early, and took some photos of my teacher, Megg, working with another student.
The small oven in the foreground is for flashing your work… no… not like that… get your mind out of the gutter. You stick the long gathering rod with the glass on the end in, to keep it hot so you can work the glass. You have to keep spinning the gathering rod, or, as the glass does warm up, it will start to run… like very hot honey.
Glass blowing is like a dance… a dance where you are holding a five-foot-long rod, or an equally-long hollow tube… with a blob of lava on the end. You need to be pretty careful of where that blob goes. And even when it starts to cool you could shatter it.
Here she is helping the other student… whom I have cropped out of the picture… by rolling the gathering tube on the two metal rails, while he uses some long tongs to open the mouth of his project.
I do like the way he put a lip of a new color on the piece.
As the glass opens up into a bowl, Megg uses the tongs… of which their are several sizes… to narrow the glass where it connects to the gathering rod. See, there is a bench on the back end of those two rolling rails. There are a lot of tools involved in glass blowing, and I didn’t even get around to using a lot of them.
Another view of the annealing… or slow-cooling oven… where the finished projects go to slowly come down in temperature over a long period of time. That is so they don’t shatter as they cool. In the foreground is a little water trough in a metal garbage can. The water spurts up in the middle of a groove. You use this to cool the gathering rods, or they become so hot that it is dangerous.
In the middle is the big oven, containing a huge bowl in which rest hundreds of gallons… or pounds… or whatever… of the molten glass, kept constantly red hot, and ready to be gathered. A surprisingly small blob is needed to make a fairly big piece of art, especially if you blow it up.
And then, it was my turn. Two hours of glass blowing fun. And I did a lot more of my own work than that other student. Just saying. I risked snapping a few selfies while I sat on the bench behind the rolling rails, and we… Megg and I… both turned the gathering rod while we used a big wooden ladle to round the outside of one of my projects.
And speaking of my projects, I picked them up this morning, and I will have some photos of them… as soon as we are done with one more post about glass working.