Saturday, September 17, 2011

Glass blowing class at Sauder Village in Archbold Ohio

So, here's the deal. A few times a summer, Mark Matthews, resident and famous (oh yes!) glassblower who is known for his marbles (no joke, he still has his marbles) gives one hour long molten glass experiences at Sauder Village. The studio is complete with all the paraphernalia needed to make really cool glass. The clear molten glass is in an oven just waiting for dipping a red hot rod to extract a nice blob to roll in chips of colored glass. Some chip colors are transparent and must have a background dip of white so the colors can be seen. He offers a choice of a round spherical ornament or a flower. Of course, I picked the flower.

I choose two colors of green for the flower stem and cobalt blue for the main flower color and yellow around the edges of the petals. The glass blob is rolled around in the appropriate color chips and reheated to melt them. It is then shaped by rolling on a metal slab and cooled by rolling the rod and controlling the shape of the glass blob. I am not sure what the appropriate name for the blob is, ergo, blob.

The petals are cut along the edges with something like scissors and shaped with pinching tools that grab the glass and pull it to shape. A hole is poked into the center of the flower with tongs. The glass is easy to manipulate and sort of feels like a living entity. You have to work fast as it cools quickly.

After several reheatings the stem is pulled out with circular tongs and twisted to shape. This also pulls in the center of the flower as if to invite a giant hummngbird to lunch. The piece is cooled with compressed air in areas that need to be stabilized before removing it from the rod. A brisk tap with a metal object like a dinner knife released the flower from the rod. Then it is off to the annealing oven for an overnight cooling to stabilize it.

So, I can't really see it till tomorrow morning. Sighhhhhh Pictures later. Sighhhhhhh

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Stamp Out Procrastination!

After much prodding and chiding from my children, I promise to end procrastination and write this blog. Sigh....... Hopefully, I will remember all passwords and sign in names and come up with some interesting tidbits to share. :o) 

This summer I have been working at an historic site making baskets and doing tinsmith work. Basket making is fun, but tin is GREAT FUN! Soldering is done with a blowpipe and alcohol lamp and the tin is formed using antique machines. So far I have made star shaped cookie cutters, a couple of tin cups, a half sheet tray, and gnome cookie cutters. My next project is to experiment with asphaltum, a material that was used historically to coat the tim prior to decorative painting. The tray will soon, I hope, become a painting project. Whoot!