Working with Hot Glass in Niagara
I love the saying "Fill your life with adventures not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show." I believe that one of the best gifts you can give anyone is an experience that they can reflect on and smile. Tangible things come on go, experiences and memories last a lifetime.
My best friend Heather is an awesome person and even more awesome of a friend. I am so lucky and grateful that she is in my life. For her birthday I thought that learning a new skill together would be an interesting and different type of experience (Yes, being my friend can be a nerdy experience). I started looking for skills that we could learn and found a 2 hour glassblowing lesson hosted by Steven Woodruff (Woody). You would think that this would be a boring birthday gift, but Nay Nay.
I learned that Steven is a fellow alumni from Sheridan College Trafalgar campus and has a glass studio located in Niagara Ontario that offered lessons. What a great way to support the local economy, a Sheridan alumni, and try something new! As a bonus, Heather gets to create her own glass piece to keep. This unique item that she creates will hopefully be a reminder of the experience of trying something new and the memories made on our adventure. Happy Birthday Heather!
You can check out Steven's website by clicking the link. https://www.studiovine.ca/
I love every second that Heather and I get to spend together. We were both super excited while driving to Steven's studio. Once arriving we were greeted warmly and got a quick tour of the shop.
With only three of us in the workshop it made the experience so much more meaningful. Heather and I asked questions and we were all able to create a connection that made it feel that we were learning a skill from a friend rather than a professional.
After a demonstration of what we were going to do, safety measures around the shop, practicing holding the rods correctly and how to enter and exit the bench; I was first up to create my one or a kind paper weight.
Let me pause here for a second...I feel like I should tell you and, I can't stress this enough, Steven was such a great teacher! He allowed us to do everything solo but was super close to help when needed.
Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of myself doing this. It wasn't Heather's responsible to take pictures, plus today was about her not me. With that being said, here is Heather creating her one of a kind piece of glass art.
After creating our artwork, we were told we could pick up our pieces after 24 hours. It would take that much time for the annealing process. We are so excited to come back and see how our creations turned out.
5 days later....... Here are our finished pieces!
INTERESTING FACTS and LEARNING
Working with hot glass/Glassblowing
- Glassblowing as a process hasn’t changed much since the 1600s. The process was essentially the same as it is today. When you watch a glassblower work in modern times, what you are really seeing is continuity in the artform that makes glassblowing a part of living history.
- The glass worked by glassblowers is extremely hot at over 2,000°F. In fact, it is the same temperature as lava from a volcano!
- Wet newspaper can be used to act has a barrier between the artists hand and the hot glass to help shape it. Yes, it becomes very hot. It is amazing when you think your using your hands to shape something as hot as lava!
Remember, Get out, Explore, and Learn.