Today I am looking at glass from a new student perspective.
My VERY, VERY good friends, Tracy Jayne and Mark Crews, recently took a glassblowing class at Neusole Glassworks in Cincinnati, Ohio. Tracy sent me an email telling me all about the class. I asked if I could share their experience on the blog and they agreed. So, today please welcome guest bloggers, Tracy Jayne and Mark Crews.
I thought your Looking At Glass readers might like to hear about our wonderful experience taking a glass blowing class at Neusole Glassworks in Cincinnati, Ohio. Neusole is a working art glass studio that offers a variety of classes ranging from glass blowing, flamework, fusing, and bead making. On the top floor of this large, urban facility is a small gallery that displays and sells the beautiful pieces created by the working artists at Neusole.
Upon our arrival we were greeted by instructor and glass artist Logan Brooks who took us to the large glass blowing area in the rear of the studio. In front of us were a series of furnaces; one holding the clear, molten glass used to dip the rods into; a second used to reheat the layers throughout the process. Glass confetti chards sat in metal bins and were used to add a variety of colors to the pieces. A short, seated bench held the various pinchers, wooden paddles, and tools used to shape the glass throughout the various creative phases.
Once Logan demonstrated what we were going to make, we began our first project; a paperweight. Little did we know that there are a tremendous variety of techniques used in the making of glass art. For instance, covering two sides of molten glass with colored glass chards, then pulling the ends into a taffy-like twist results in a stunning ribbon of colors. Pinching, pulling, or poking the glass enables the artist to integrate strategic bubbles into the piece. The coordination needed to spin a long rod while simultaneously blowing short burst of air through it requires stamina, experience, and precision – it was a good thing that Logan pretended to let us be in control!
For the novice, glass seems untamable. In the helpful hands of Logan, the process was controllable, creative, and fun. We left Neusole with a renewed appreciation for all things glass and the skilled artisans who make this medium their own. Along with the lasting memories and appreciation, we also have beautiful souvenirs. What an amazing way to spend a Saturday!