Glass Blowing

For those of you who don’t know what glass blowing is, I’m about to blow your mind. I watched a documentary a few years ago about Dale Chihuly glass and I have been dying to do it ever since. Then one day I was walking through Thanksgiving Point and found this place that lets you do it!

I was crazy excited about my discovery, so I made Doug go with me for his birthday. ☺ This is how it goes down:

1. They take a pole and dip it in this a cauldron of hot flowing magma/liquid glass. Already the thought of liquid glass is nuts, but it’s even more nuts when you look in the furnace it sits in. It is seriously like looking into the center of the sun. Even though the walls of the oven and the bowl holding the glass are metal, everything in the oven is the same glowing orange color. You’re not really sure what you’re looking at. But you’re pretty sure it will cause you to go blind. Oh, and the oven is about 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. You take the pole out of the oven and start to spin it. The glass is super malleable, so if you hold the pole in one position too long, the glass will start running off the pole. So you have to keep it moving to maintain a round little blob.

3. Then you add your color. There are little colored glass beads you dip your glass blob in. This is way harder than it sounds. You have to continue spinning the pole while you dip the blob in the beads, without making a huge mess with the beads … Doug. ☺

4. Once your beads are stuck to your blob, you take your blob to another oven that seals your color in.

5. When everything is sufficiently melted together, you take the pole and blob over to your little workbench where the magic begins. You start by making your blob into a disc.

6. You grab giant tweezers and start pulling little pieces around the edge of the disc as you spin the pole, forming the flower. P.S. This was way harder than I thought it would be. The Youtubes made it look like it was pulling taffy, but then you realize, “Hey, this is hardening liquid glass.”

7. Once you have the shape you want for your flower, you grab the end of your flower and pull out to form the stem. If you want a curling stem, you just hold your flower still while you spin the pole.

8. Then they take a blowtorch to seal the end of your flower.

9. Cool down. They put the flowers in ovens that cool the glass at 200 degrees per hour.

When you’re done making your flower, the glass is about 900 degrees, despite the fact that it’s totally hard. Crazy.

There you have it. This is seriously one of the coolest things I have ever done and I insist that everyone tries it.

Here are our flowers. I went a little crazy experimenting with my camera. Sorry …

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