Imagine what it’s like to stir the liquid center of the sun and you’re pretty close to what it’s like to dip a steel rod into a crucible filled with glass bubbling at over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (over 1,000 degrees Celsius). Molten glass is surprisingly heavy. Here’s a video of gathering molten glass.
Our first project was to make a paperweight. Molten glass has the consistency of honey. Making an even sphere was more difficult than I’d anticipated. I chose to use swirls of oranges.
Now that our class of three showed we could roll and shape glass into a solid form, we were allowed to try glass-blowing. If you’ve ever made balloon animals, you know how difficult it is to blow up long, thin balloons. Now imagine those balloons are at the end of a steel rod and they’re hot enough to set your clothes on fire if they touch your clothes. I made this deep pink vase. (There is real gold in pink glass.)
Several steps later, you use wet newspaper in one hand to shape the fiery glass’s sides smooth while turning the steel rod with your other hand. You then use a wet dowel to shape the inside. When you insert the dowel into the piece to smooth the insides, you can watch the flames and sparks fly.
I found the molten glass mesmerizing and nearly forgot about the heat. I’m glad I took the class!