Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Last weekend I traveled to a town that was hosting an art walk.  Several shops were showing off their wares of hand-crafted items, art work and trinkets along with demonstrations and refreshments.  One of my favorite places had mostly second hand and repurposed pieces for sale.  The store owner was working on making yarn out of some alpaca wool so she could use it for knitting.  She was quite a character and we had a fun visit. I found a basket full of mittens made out of pieces of wool sweaters.  The mittens were lined with polar fleece and very warm. 

They were just what I needed to fit over the gloves I wear when I'm taking photographs in cold weather.  I've already tried them out and they work great.

However, mittens sometimes make me feel like doing this.

The demonstration I enjoyed the most was being done by Heron Glass. They'd already shown the group some glass blowing and now they were going to make a glass "candy cane."

The apprentice, who's name I've forgotten, began by heating up three colored glass cylinders in the furnace.

Meanwhile Ralph gathered a glob of clear glass from the other furnace.

The trick was to put the clear glass around the colored glass shafts.

Like this.

Then  Mary brought over another glob of hot glass to add to the project.

That piece went on the other end and Ralph cut it off with some big shears.

The whole thing was smoothed together using this tool on a metal table.

It already looks like candy.

Now while Ralph heats up the piece, Apprentice is preparing another hunk of hot glass.

Here's the piece red hot and ready for the next step.

Ralph sticks Apprentice's hot gob on the end.

Then in a maneuver almost like a dance Apprentice takes one end and steps back.

Gently and slowly they stretch and twist the hot glass.

...and stretch, twist...and pull...

The piece was even longer than this when it got too cool to pull any more.
They carefully laid it down and broke it into two pieces, ready to be made into something beautiful.

Speaking of beautiful...these are a selection of the items for sale in their store.

Can you imagine decorating a tree with these bobbles?  Wow.

Their work was skillful, delightful and way, way out of my price range.

I couldn't even afford a paper weight.

  Still there were globs of glass they'd cut off the end of their vases before they were finished.
These little trinkets had been made into colorful refrigerator magnets.  They were more within my budget so I bought a couple.  Then I decided the best strategy was to Run Away! Run Away! since all I could do after that was maybe return with a shrubbery.


Unknown said...

I already got one! Not really. But I'm jealous of yours. Looks like a super fun trip! I will have to come see your magnets soon!

Linda Sue said...

Sounds like Bellingham, were you here? There was a glass studio downtown when Erik was little, they had a glass pile of "fail" in the back, more like a mountain with signs saying "danger" , yeah right, we made quite a haul, only a few superficial cuts. You should have called when you came to the art walk that I must have overlooked.

Florida Farm Girl said...

Oh, isn't glass work the most magnificent thing to watch? The heat that is radiated off the bigger pieces is amazing. I can't afford most of the hand made pieces either, but I did buy a little hand made wine tumbler. Here's the place we stumbled on while tootling around the Alabama hills. http://orbixhotglass.com/

Anzu said...

It looks like a busy candy factory for Christmas.(*'-'*)
They are a little expensive, but I love colorful Murano glass.
Thank you for sharing!

Joanne Noragon said...

In the olden days, exhibiting at art shows, I was overawed by the glass. And humbled that glass blowers wanted to trade. My children received so many glass ornaments, and my sister a beautiful paperweight. I miss being involved in art fairs.

Anonymous said...

Glass blowing is a fascinating business.

Terry and Linda said...

I love to watch glass blowers. There is nothing so magical as blown glass..at least to me.

¸.•*¨*•♪♫♫♪Merry Christmas ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥

fishducky said...

I LOVE what people can do with glass!! I was fortunate enough to visit Dale Chihuly's studio in Seattle years ago & watch them work in the "hot room". He's now opened a museum. Take a look: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/18/dale-chihuly-seattle_n_1528719.html

TALON said...

I thought I was the only one putting mittens over gloves. :) Love mittens...perfect for hiking...not good for anything requiring finger dexterity, but impossible to beat for warmth.

Glass blowing is so cool (or should I say hot?)...we have a couple of studios here that do it and it never fails to amaze me.