Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fun with Glass!

In this post, I shared about our trip to the Dale Chihuly Gardens in Seattle.  My mom and I loved it!  A while back I saw a Groupon pop up for an intro to glassblowing class at a local studio.  I knew it would be the perfect gift for Mother's Day.

Potek Glass is located in NE Minneapolis' Arts District.  The studio was in a fun old building and we took a freight elevator up!  Annie was our instructor.  We first gathered out supplies and she gave up a torch lesson, teaching us to POOP.  That is is the creative acronym for remembering the order to turn on and off the torch.  Propane - Oxygen - Oxygen - Propane.  Bad things can happen if you don't do that properly and there aren't safety checkpoints.  Since this studio teaches a lot of beginners it was almost impossible for anything to go TOO wrong.

Lots of fun toys!
Mom - Ready to learn!
It looks cooler in person!
We has 3 projects that Annie demonstrated, then supervised us doing.
The first project was a paper weight.  We took a large rod and made a "gather" (basically a big blob) of glass and dipped the hot glass in colored glass dust called frit.  Then you hot cut the blob away from the rod.  My mom was rounding out her paper weight below.  Mine didn't turn out well (I know, how do you mess that up?)
 We placed each finished piece in a pile of... shoot, I can't remember what it's called.  Anyway, it helps to protect the glass as it cools.
Next we made an icicle ornament.  For this we made another "gather" and then flattened it with a masher.  We then stretched and twisted the disk as we heated it.

My final product - turned out ok!
I was most excited about our last item!  We got to experiment with blown glass!  The official project was an incense holder, but I have no use for that, so I got creative (with instructor approval!)  For this one we started with a glass tube instead of a rod.  We heated and closed off the end.  Then got it white hot and slowly blew on the open end.  The rods we had could only expand to a couple inches max so our bulbs were pretty small.  I added a few facial features and BAM!
I think it's kind of cute!  Not sure what I am going to do with it, but I am proud!  After the last project we got some free time to experiment with anything we wanted.  I stayed with the blown glass, but ended up with something that looks kind of like an eyeball pulled out of someones socket...  I made a loop at the top so I could hang it if I want to.
Regardless of results, it was REALLY fun!  The studio has open torch a couple times a month for just $15!  I am hoping to get in there again soon and work on my skills.

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