Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Glass Making

Today was a great day!  We went on a little field trip, to a local shop that has glass blowing demonstrations daily.   I’ve never seen the process, nor had the kids, so it was quite fascinating.  The artist was very helpful in answering questions and telling us why he was doing certain things as he did them.

Below, he is collecting a glob of molten glass from the 2400 degree oven it’s kept in.

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Rolling the glob ‘o glass in some colored glass chips to add color to the finished project.

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Blowing air into the glob o’ glass to get the shape started.   If you look closely, you can see a small hose in the corner of his mouth.  The hose attached to the end of the metal tube he’s working with, and allows him to blow the glass shape as big as he’d like.

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029The craftsman had to reheat the glass every few minutes to keep it pliable enough to work with.   This particular oven stays at approximately 1500 degrees.

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Please note, he worked faster than I could take photos, so there are some missed steps along the way.  Below he is preparing clear glass for the “foot” of the vase he’s working on.

031These next three photos show him adding a ring of different colored glass tot he top of the vase. 

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Back in the furnace for a few seconds….

042 A few finishing touches…

044And…tada!

045The entire process took maybe 12-15 minutes tops!  It was amazing to see a glob of smoldering nothing turn into this lovely vase.  At the point of the above photo the vase was still approximately 1200 degrees.  (youch!)

The craftsman then placed the finished project into a holding oven that keeps the items at a constant temperature of around 1200 degrees.  In the evening, the temperature will drop 1 degree per minute, brining the contents of the oven to room temperature by morning.  Cooling any faster would cause the glass to shatter.

We came home and completed our own glass making projects!  You’ll have to come back tomorrow to read about that!

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