Saturday, October 4, 2008

Glassblowing 101

So last night we had one of the coolest dates ever. Glassblowing. Really.

I had heard that there was a studio in our city, and my initial idea was to do the date for my husband's recent 40th birthday, but alas, the studio is smart and not open during the hottest months of summer. So we instead made reservations for the first Friday night we had free after they opened for the fall, and off we went. I think my husband really had no idea what was in store, but thankfully, he is always up for my wild hairs...

After signing our lives and the lives of our firstborn away on a piece of paper (just kidding on the firstborn bit, but definitely acknowledging the dangerous aspect of standing in front of a 2000+ degree furnace with a metal stick in our hands and how we wouldn't turn around and sue them if we were stupid and got burnt), we were first assigned our safety goggles.

Stylin', eh?

Our instructor was cool, way cool. She asked us what we would like to make, and I, of course, blurted out immediately my desire for a pumpkin, since that is one of the offerings. She explained that pumpkins are not the most fun to make since we can only "assist" on those, but she said she would make us a pumpkin (with my assistance) and then we could each try our hand at a flower, the flower being one of the most fun things to make since there were a lot of steps to it and we could each do the steps ourselves under her watchful eye. All this to say, she was way cool since we would actually be bringing home three glass creations instead of just two (which was specified in the "glassblowing for two" package we had paid for). Yay for us.

On to the glassblowing...

She made us a pumpkin, with my blowing assistance (we all know how much hot air I am full of, haha):

It was a lot harder than you might think to be the assistant and blow the glass. While she was sitting on the bench rolling and shaping the pumpkin, I had to bend over quite low, put my mouth on this metal rod, and blow into a small hole while she was rolling the rod with her hand. The breaths had to be very controlled, and it was hard not to knock your teeth on that metal rod while it was rolling.

Then, the fun really got going. It was time for my husband and I to become glass artisans ourselves. Thankfully she first walked us through the entire process herself, demonstrating as she made a flower. Then she made us practice each and every step without the heat and the glass. This was especially important because as she pointed out, once the human body steps in front of a 2000+ degree furnace, your brain automatically goes into "fight or flight" response and oftentimes forgets all the important things she said to do.

My husband went first, not the easiest task, since he was to be the first guinea pig in experiencing the heat, the glass, etc. My husband is not necessarily a daredevil by any means, so he took it super serious, and I could tell he was apprehensive, especially about possibly burning himself.

And then it was my turn. Believe me when I tell you that the second person to do this has the definite advantage. Watching my husband react to the ultra-hot furnace, seeing how hard it was to keep the rod turning at the right rate and time to keep the glass on the end from falling off, observing the difficulty in pinching the glass to make the petals of the flower, etc., all helped me to have an easier time of it.

The finished products, which I just picked up this afternoon:

My husband's flower --

My flower --

and the pumpkin --

And that, my friends, is the recipe for one of the coolest date nights ever.


Amylouwho said...

Very, very cool.

Karen said...

Oh yeah - I love that!!! Looks like sooo much fun - I love your finished products - good job!

katie said...

Way too cool! Something you will keep forever! :)

Happily Ever After said...

That IS the coolest date night ever! You two are so much fun! I love the way they turned out.

Maybe I can talk Steve into something like this... :)

Sandy said...

That's so cool!!

Louise said...

Wow Valerie I'm so impressed!! And really lovely things to keep to remember such a 'hot' date!!