Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Glassblowing

Jasper's ornament.
I love glassblowing, and when the awesome Kim Railey put together a field trip for families to make glass ornaments, I was very excited to share this amazing art form with Jasper.  We headed over to Live Laugh Love Glass in Tigard, where Jasper got to choose from a huge array of colors.  Next, our group headed into the hot shop.  The studio is very well organized, with a seating area just outside the hot shop with big windows to watch.  Inside, they have two complete work areas so two pieces can be made simultaneously.  After the glass was gathered from the furnace, Jasper got to roll it on the metal table (called the "marver") to coat it with chunks of pigmented glass, and then got to heat it for a while in the glory hole.  While his instructor worked to shape his ornament, he got to watch up close and expand the bubble of glass by blowing into the blow pipe.  When the ornament was nearly finished, he got to help remove it from the blow pipe.  He was really excited to give this a try!  
In the Portland area there are several places to learn more about glassblowing. Live Laugh Love Glass is a studio that focuses on single-session glassblowing experiences where folks ages 5 and up will get to bring something beautiful home, but also offer private lessons.  Elements Glass in NW Portland also offers single session workshops, but their focus is on multiple session classes in which students do all the steps themselves. Firehouse Glass in Vancouver offers private lessons that can be split between up to 3 students, and they also invite the public to watch free demos in the evening of every First Friday.  Every October during Portland Open Studios, Heather and John Fields of Fields and Fields Glass have been opening their doors with demos all day. And of course a bit further afield is the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, with an amazing hot shop where visitors can watch teams of world class glass artists shape amazing creations.  





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