Sunday, February 26, 2006
I'm back from my weekend with my dad, and an unexpected thing happened -- I am now hooked on making things with molten glass! I started out just going along because my dad wanted to take the class and didn't want to do it by himself, and ended up hopelessly hooked.
Blowing glass is an amazing thing. We got to the studio (this huge old barn out behind the shop) and they had these huge furnaces all fired up, two monster kilns going -- it was a bit intimidating! I had absolutely no desire to work with glass.... I know the basic process for glass blowing, know how glass beads are made, and have always said I wouldn't bother doing it because I have no coordination. I knew I had to constantly turn the mandrel with one hand while manipulating the glass with the other, and that was too much like patting my head and rubbing my stomach for me to think I could ever do it.
Our instructor, Eric Kvarnes, couldn't have been nicer. I noticed that he had a copy of Josh Simpson's book and I commented that I'd seen his work in Baltimore that week. Turns out they started out in the same studio, and are good friends! I not only read the book but learned a lot of funny things about him from Eric.
Eric started us out by having us make shot glasses. Dad went first, and when it came to be my turn, I was so nervous -- I just knew I'd make an idiot of myself. But it went so well!!! My confidence just soared through the roof. And it was FUN -- I hadn't expected to actually enjoy it!
We got to choose what we wanted to do for our second project, and I opted for a paperweight with lots of swirls of color in it. The blow pipes are as tall as I am and it's a bit awkward to lift that thing up in the air to get the frit on the gather of glass, but I managed, and the end product was too cool for words. They're in the kiln right now -- Dad will ship it to me later this week.
But THEN Eric's wife showed up, and she does the lampwork bead classes, and we got to go to HER studio and have her fire up the torches. Dad and I were already excited from the glass blowing, but the bead making -- we're hopelessly hooked. I never, ever thought I'd want to make my own beads, but it was so enjoyable to work with the glass that I immediately started plans for a lampwork studio.
To make things even better, I got two books from Dad and Gloria --1000 Beautiful Beads and Cindy Jenkin's Beads of Glass. If I wasn't already excited, those books just sealed the deal.
All in all, an utterly amazing experience.