During early spring, we are surrounded by clear blue skies, lush green grasses and wonderful wild flowers. The fresh air, skycapes and views for miles motivate us to create the springtime imagery on our fields of flowers bowls and vases.
To create the images on these landscapes requires a good amount of advanced prep work. First, the flowers are made a day or two ahead of time. It takes several hours to layer the many colors we use and to pull out the long stringers that are then cut crosswise into small wafers and become the flowers on each of these pieces.
Once the murine flowers are made, we can proceed with blowing out a vase or bowl. We layer the colors from the inside out, using pieces of color that resemble rock salt. We are gathering one element of the scene on top of another. First a core of white, then the sky with clouds, next the grass, then the flowers. After gathering all the colors and molten glass, we begin to see the formation of a scene and gather a final layer of clear over the colored glass, giving it a 3-d effect.
- We have to gather color and molten clear and layer it into a large lug of glass. Its a series of layers of clear and frit. The more layers we make, the more rings of color in each flower that we create.
- After we have gathered the desired amount of color, we then get the lug of color extremely hot and stretch it out into a series of thin strings. It goes from the size of a large sausage to the size of a #2 pencil. It happens very fast, as we heat the lug and pull out threads, one section at a time.
- The 3-4 foot pieces are placed out on wood blocks on the concrete floor and allowed to cool. Then collected and stacked and saved to be cut. No need to anneal these as they are thin enough that they won’t crack.
- Once we have allowed all the glass stringers to cool properly we use a mosaic glass cutter and trim 1/4” slices. The cross sections are then placed on a hot plate and heated to prepare for a hot glass pick up.
- First we take a gather of clear on the end of a blow pipe and roll into the white pigment. It creates an interior core for the glass vase that you will see when it is opened up.
- We then heat the color and melt in to the surface of the clear gather and a bubble is then started inside this first gather.
- Then we take more clear from the furnace on top of the color and go to the table and roll into once color of “frit” for the sky, usually its a pastel blue.
- Next is a roll into a very sparse sprinkle of white frit to create a cloud effect on the blue sky.
- A partial roll to the top half of the gather for the grass, we use a mix of green frit called “grass mix” . We roll the glass into the grass mix a few times to create the field of green.
- Then we roll across a hot plate where the flowers have been set up and positioned for a pick up. We take our gather of color over to the flowers and slowly roll across to pick them up on the surface of the grass.
- We gather over the scene and encase it in clear again to seal the deal and have the proper amount of material to blow out a bowl or large vessel.
- If all goes well, we have a scene that we have built upside down. As we will eventually disconnect this from the blow pipe and reverse the position of the glass onto a solid rod.
- At this point, we are blowing the glass like any of the other pieces we make, stretching and reheating and blowing on the end of the blow pipe.
- Once the glass is shaped to the desired form, we transfer to a solid rod to complete the vase and open mouth and finish the lip with a clear or color wrap.
- If we make it this far in the process, then the piece after the last re-heat is removed from the pipe and put into an annealing oven to cool for about 15 hours.
- When we remove the glass from the oven, the piece will rest for a few days until Dana can grind and polish the bottom with a series of diamond wheels and glass polishing equipment.
- Once the glass has been leveled and polished, it is signed and dated and put into a box to take to a show. Wow, bet you never knew how hard it was to blow glass, make the work and get it in front of our customers!