I’m so excited to tell you about what I learned this week… I took a glass working class!
We took a little family vacation to Niagara Falls, and then continued onto Dearborn, Michigan. Dearborn is the home of the Henry Ford museum/factories, as well as a place called Greenfield Village, a 19th century village created by the Ford Family.
Next week, I’ll write more posts about my adventures at Greenfield Village: visiting working farms, yarn production and a multitude of crafting workshops. But today, I’ll tell you about my glass working class!
The Glass Shop
In the glass shop, there are glass artisans producing pieces (everything from mugs to vases to ornaments)… and you can watch every step of the process!
There’s also a narrator who describes each step that the glass artisan takes… I learned so much!
Here are a couple of tidbits that I learned:
- Pots of liquid glass are kept in the furnaces at about 900 degrees. When it’s time to start a piece, the artisan dips a metal pole into the pot to scoop a dollop of glass!
- The glass gradually cools as you work. To keep the piece pliable (and to keep working on it), the artisan returns the work back into the furnace to raise the temperature.
- You can’t start with too big of a glob of glass. If the artist is working on a large piece, they’ll go back and add more glass to their initial piece.
- Cool metal is used to shape the hot glass… and it doesn’t stick!
- The glass, once finished, needs to be cooled slowly (in this case, computer-controlled ovens), or else it will explode later on. Eep!
- Using a wooden mold to shape the glass is called ‘blocking’. Sound familiar?
Making a glass flower…
The glass shop has a class for total newbies like me. An easy starting project is to make a glass flower, since it requires just pulling and shaping with metal pliers.
Step 1: Watch the demo The first step, of course, is to learn from the teacher how it’s done.
Step 2: Don protective gear The hot glass is HOT! So, I put on gloves, glasses and an apron…
As you can see… I’m excited to get started!
Step 3: Make the flower! I followed the instructions… first, flattening the top of the glass blob. (as you can see, I’m not on my own… the teacher is in control of the hot glass!)
Then, I shape the flower… pinch here, tug there.
The trick seems to be rotating the piece (which the teacher did) to fight gravity while pinching/shaping before the piece cooled.
Step 4: Let cool The teacher zipped my flower off to the computer-controlled cooling ovens… and I got my piece later on. Wanna see it?
Here it is:
I’m so proud! I can’t believe I made something out of glass!
So, are you doing something crafty this weekend?
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