Glassblowing (with a blowpipe) has been my hobby since 2000. There are many aspects of glassblowing which create the “moth to the flame” (quite literally) for me:
- A crucible of molten glass has infinite potential, limited only by a person’s skill and imagination.
- Anybody who has watched glassblowing knows that it is “the extreme sport of the art world”, combining together ballet with the blowpipe and glass always in motion (to counter the effects of gravity and keep the piece centered).
- People can approach or specialize in glassblowing from many different perspectives including: history, functional craft, beautiful colorful art, science/chemistry, metals (both for molds/ tools, and also mixed-media). I especially enjoy what the Muranese glass masters call “Palloncino Veneziana” which literally translates as “Venetian Balloon”, of blowing glass inside a copper wire cage, combining together the transparency of glass, with the rigid structure of opaque metal.
- People may think of glassblowing as a solitary activity, but it is actually much more common for glassblowing to be done in a group/team, it makes it both easier and more fun to collaborate.
Glassblowing is challenging, but websites are easy for me, so I created www.glassblower.info which is one of the largest “hot glass” websites in the world, with more than 3,800 web pages, over 26,000 photographs, and more than 3 million home page views. I was honored when the Rakow Research Library at Corning Museum of Glass asked if I would participate in their History of Glass video-interview series.
While many people in the area have learned to do glassblowing at Bucks County Community College, as a 3-credit course, that requires a semester-long commitment and is not a public-access studio, i.e. it does not provide individual MYO [Make Your Own] experience such as making a Christmas ornament, or your first paperweight, or a vase, or for the more advanced folks, an opportunity to rent glassblowing time on the weekends. Simply put, there is no public access glassblowing studio closer than 50 to 90 minute drive. And if you have never done glassblowing: here is one fact to keep in mind: you are not going to make just one trip. Anything you make needs to cool in an annealer for one to two days, otherwise it will crack. So, you are looking at a minimum of two round-trips, now we are talking about travel time commitment of 3 hours to 6 hours.