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Glassblowing October 20, 2010

Posted by madi64 in Glass Blowing.
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The glass blowing station is absolutely amazing, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys art and creating pretty things. I started the station at the beginning of the semester and stayed on it for just over two months, so beware: this station definitely takes more time and is way more in depth than others. But you will surely enjoy every minute of it. I had never done glass blowing before, but my progress was significant during the time at the station. You start by researching glass blowing and learning the functions of the different tools used at the station. Then you learn to create a simple bead. The demonstrations of each technique are most certainly the biggest help when trying something new, because glass blowing is very hands on and it would be difficult to learn from reading a tutorial. I would suggest spending quite a bit of time making simple beads and working to make them more even and round each time, as well as increasing the speed you do it. This will give you a lot of experience working with the glass and learning how to manipulate it so when you begin to utilize other techniques, your knowledge of mandrels, glass, and the flame will be much more significant and useful. After mastering this, you’ll learn how to do new things, like adding dots with stringers, smearing in color with the rake, and changing the shape or drawing on a picture. All of these techniques will be used in more complicated projects, so make sure you spend plenty of time playing around and making beads, not only so you have plenty of practice, but also because its fun. The next step is to create a sculpture on the mandrel and a free-form sculpture. Creating a sculpture on the mandrel was my favorite activity at the station. Make sure you ask for a demonstration of a fish because it’s the most fun. However free-form sculptures are a lot trickier and require patience, as working with the glass off a mandrel is a whole different ball game then doing it free hand. Just a heads up, you will definitely have days that aren’t good, where it seems like you can’t make what you’re trying to make to save your life and everything fails. It happens, but it will be better another day, just keep working at the techniques and if you need a break, ask for another demonstration. (On a side note, make sure to watch the video about glass blowing projects. They’re really complicated and at a high skill level, but they’re so cool that they will keep you motivated when stuff gets frustrating). And finally, the number one most important piece of advice I have is this: be SUPER careful when you’re heating up the glass rods. If you put them into the flame too quickly without letting them heat up they will explode, which will scare the crap out of you, not to mention potentially burn you (I got burned twice, and it hurts). Just be patient and bring the glass up to temperature slowly, you will be better off in the long run.

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