Sunday, May 9, 2010

Highway Hotshop

My first glass blowing lesson!

Josh Dopp invited me to my first glass blowing experience today at the mobile studio, Highway Hotshop. I've been looking forward to doing this for a while, and to having a little first-hand knowledge of what it takes to make a work in glass. What a great day! Josh and Adam, partners in HH, were both on hand to demonstrate, instruct, guide and assist. They are each talented artists individually, and a great team in sharing this mobile glass experience.

After my tour of the set-up (glory hole, furnace and annealing kiln), Josh demonstrated a couple of pulled glass flower forms. Then I got to try my hand at it, and was impressed with the strength and steadiness of hand it really takes to make even the simplest forms. The guys accurately describe it as trying to do that old trick of rubbing your tummy and patting your head at the same time, and they're right - remembering to constantly turn the pipe, balance the molten, moving glass on the end of it, and then affect its shape with one hand holding a new-to-me tool. So I made a few lesser versions of the glass flower, and enjoyed it (once I lowered my expectations!). Eager to see them when they come out of the kiln tomorrow. Definitely not the graceful works that Josh made, but I'm pleased.

Next we spent time on blown forms. My first piece, a humble globe, survived me well enough to achieve a small spherical form, with a nice array of colors. My second work, a small glass, with provide me with many happy glasses of juice from its colorfully organic "Shmoo" shape! I'll post pics when I get the works back.

The tools used to shape the glass

I'm going back tomorrow to do some more work, and will probably forego flowers for a few more blown pieces. Maybe a second cup, or a nice ashtray.....

Here are some pics of Josh making a glass with a nice optical twist from the use of a mold:

Josh Dopp starting his glass form

Opening the mouth of the glass