Creating · Glass · Out and About

A Weekend Away

Well despite doctors orders to stay resting, diastolic is still in higher 90’s, I went away for the weekend with my good friend Natalie, she who walks with me for charity as Ruger’s Ramblers. Back in 2019 John bought me a glass blowing course run fairly locally to us. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do so, as I know Nat is into a bit of the heavier crafts (she works in wire herself) I asked her if she’d come with me. Well the next bit is the C word, as we all know, and it was all cancelled. Sadly the place doing the course folded but we did get our money back. Luckily Nat kept her eyes open and found another studio up near Trowbridge and we booked ourselves in. This was all some time ago and I wasn’t going to cancel again so we just went for it.

There was a little bit of demoing from the tutors and then we were thrown in. This is Nat gathering the glass.

There was lots of things to learn and discover. The actual texture of the glass is a bit like reluctant toffee and it’s changing all the time. Getting it to roll smoothly in the block was tricky to start with but it moved in the end.

Blowing, well! To start it was like trying to blow an inner tube rubber balloon! Very much technique driven. Also very easy to overdo at the later stage.

Despite the huge heat coming from the furnaces it was quite cool in the room as they had the barn doors wide open (-5 outside!)! Lots of layers of clothes, which doubled on the second day, and huddling around the furnace when we could. One of the instructors blew some glass into the thinnest piece it could go.

The other instructor then showed us how flexible it was when this thin. Just like a brittle piece of plastic.

We started with making a paperweight then a bauble and finally a vase on the first day. They were annealed overnight in a cooling kiln called a Lehr and we could bring them home with us. The Sunday we made a tumbler and a bowl but we’ve yet to see them as they were still in the Lehr. I also asked one of the instructors how bullseyes and marbles were made. Well he was very successful with the bullseyes but marbles, especially with the colour twist, is a very different technique but I was given a sphere anyway, along with the bullseyes.

A totally amazing experience with a material which could be quite surprising and another creative itch scratched. Looking forward to seeing our other pieces arrive home now.

23 thoughts on “A Weekend Away

  1. I’m amazed at what you were able to make in such a short time … we watched glassblowing demos when we lived down the road from a studio in Wimberley … fascinating stuff, but I never imagined doing it myself!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There seems to be two things we always find on holiday caves and glassblowing. Glad to add my own to our collection now.


    1. They were great instructors and we could learn a lot by watching the other students in our group when it was their turn. Some amazing colours, that’s what made it for me I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely work. Glass blowing has fascinated me since I saw it in Florence when I was 14. I’ve never seen courses or workshops available. I’ve had a couple of goes at slumped glass and did some copper foiled stained glass years ago. Great to try new media.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do leaded and fused so this was a nice change. This place is just outside Trowbridge and they cover everything hot glass like beads and fusing too. Lots of huge kilns!


  3. I’m seriously impressed, glass seems to be one of the most difficult materials to work with and you’ve made some brilliant pieces. Probably just as good for the blood pressure to do something completely different!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was really interesting, but I think I prefer the longer work time of a clay 😁Have to know in advance what effect you want and how to achieve it or the next heating could undo everything.


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