I’ve wanted to learn how to blow glass since I was a teenager. There was this art studio not far from my parent’s house, and they did classes for teens every summer, one of which was glassblowing. I tried to convince my mom to sign me up, but she didn’t go for it (mostly because I was an accident prone child and she had visions of disaster).
This year, I was given a gift certificate for a two hour private glassblowing lesson, so I finally got to realize those teenage dreams. And you know what? It was just as awesome as I thought it would be, though totally different than I expected.
Firstly, it wasn’t scary, despite the super high temperature of the glass. The owner and her assistant were very clear where I could and couldn’t put a hand on the punt, and I had a cotton long sleeve shirt to protect my arms from the heat. I kind of expected to worry about accidentally burning myself all the time, but that never happened. Also, turns out glassblowing is a team sport (you often need more than 2 hands to complete a step) so both the owner and her awesome assistant were keeping an eye out for me.
Secondly, it was hard in a different way than I thought. I thought it would be physically challenging, but my biggest issue was keeping the rotating ball of hot glass centered! I thought the glass and punt would be heavy (and I’m sure if I did it all day I would find it very heavy), but that wasn’t what I had trouble with at all.
Thirdly, I don’t know why I thought this…since it is glass that is being blown…but I thought it would blow up quickly and easily and I’d have to worry about it popping (like chewing gum, I guess?). Totally not the case. It was harder to start the air pocket in the glass, then got progressively easier, but at no time was it expanding incredibly rapidly.
Finally, I was kind of expecting everything I made to turn out horribly. Granted, the reason everything looked good was due to the experts lending a helping hand when needed, but still- it was so exciting to make pretty things my first try!
I highly recommend the experience if you’re at all interested in it. I loved having a private lesson, since it gave me a ton of flexibility on what to make- so many of the group classes I’ve seen seem to start with paperweights, which I would never use. I would love to go back sometime in the fall and make Christmas gifts for friends and family- I would get the joy of creating beautiful glass, and they would get a custom glass piece.
Notes: Wear cotton long sleeves and long pants, and bring water! It gets hot. Check about whether eye protection is provided- if you have glasses, sometimes it’s better to bring your own that fits over them. You can’t take the glass home with you that day as it has to cool down slowly otherwise it will explode.