September 27, 2009

number 98: glassblowing at Wheaton Arts

A good friend gave us a very thoughtful wedding gift last year, which we were finally able to put to use recently. Our friend Amy gave us gift certificates to take a glassblowing class at Wheaton Arts in Millville, New Jersey, where you can make your own glass paperweight. We each took a stab at making our own creation, and we had a blast. (It also allowed me to cross #98 off of my 101 in 1001 list.)

Our teacher, Max, taught us all the ropes together, and then we made our paperweights separately. I was a little nervous so I made Nick go first :-)

We were able to choose what colors, style, and shape we wanted. We both stuck with the standard sphere as opposed to an egg shape, and we went with different color schemes. Nick wanted his paperweight to have air bubbles in it, so he put his glass into a mold that creates air bubbles before putting it into the furnace again to coat it with another layer of glass. Here's what the glass looked like when it came out of the mold... it was sort of a reverse-pineapple looking thing:

We both had to wear long sleeves and sunglasses for protection... it was EXTREMELY hot, especially when we were standing directly in front of the furnace. I can only imagine how hot it feels in there in the dead heat of summer.

Below you can see me putting my glass into different colored glass crystals to add color to my design.

... And then shaping it with the wooden sphere mold. Isn't it awesome how it glows?

This is what my paperweight looked like before it was put into the kiln; it stays there for 24-hours, so our final pieces were shipped to us a few days later.

And now, the big reveal... our final paperweights!

Can you guess whose is whose?

The green and blue one is Nick's, and the red, purple and white is mine :-) See the cool air bubbles created in Nick's as a result of using that mold?

We had so much fun... we may go back another time to make a vase, which would be much more challenging but definitely awesome.

Have you ever taken a glassblowing class?

9 comments:

  1. What a great gift idea!! They both turned out really cool!

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  2. Thats so cool! I've always wanted to do glass blowing!

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  3. That is super neat! :) They look great!

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  4. Love it. How do the bubbles stay so evenly spaced like that?

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  5. Wow! I just love both of them! I've wanted to try glass blowing for years but haven't found anywhere to do it!

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  6. That is so neat! I'm really impressed with the results.

    I once saw people blowing glass when my family went to this historical village thing in the black forest. It was really neat! I think it's so cool how they can blow crazy shapes.

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  7. Nick @ claremont roadSeptember 28, 2009 at 8:18 PM

    @E @Oh!Apostrophe The bubbles are actually little indentations in the glass. You put the hot glass into this heavy metal cup with little bumps on the inside. It makes a pattern on the glass. When you get your next layer of glass, all the bubbles show up

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  8. we watched professional blass blowing in bermuda, but how exciting to do this yourself! great to have the finished products to remember your class too.

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