As promised, (a little later than I intended) the second blog about my wonderful art retreat to Santa Fe, New Mexico this past August.
I spent an afternoon at the Liquid Light Glass Factory in Santa Fe. https://www.liquidlightglass.com
I have always watched in amazement as artisans make beautiful vases, plates and decor out of glass. Watching them blow the glass bulb through the tube and then shaping it with tools is fascinating – especially when they add the colored glass. I can spend hours on YouTube watching glass blowing craft. It looks so easy and they shape the glass as if it’s putty.
There were a couple different workshops I could choose from. Both were at least a couple hours; but one seemed to be more complicated than the other. So, I chose the easier one – as I have never worked with glass before.
This video is basically what I did with the help of the teachers. Let me say – the room is definitely hot from the furnace. And I was a bit nervous to handle the blowpipe because it is first inserted into the furnace to pre-heat the tip before it is dipped into the molten glass to pick it up. That’s where I came in. After the instructor did the “hot” part – I was given the blowpipe to shape the glass as it dried – turning the rod so the glass would dry evenly and not drip off! It wasn’t as heavy as I thought it would be – actually felt good to roll it as the glass was being shaped. After a brief trip into the furnace to re-melt the surface, the molten glass is dipped gently into the tray of glass pigment.
Then the fun part begins! We get to shape the color and insert the design into the paperweight. Including the insertion of bubbles. (I always thought if glass had bubbles in it, it was a mistake and poor craftsmanship – but not so!). And then back to the furnace and then shaped on wet wooden molds; after which it is further refined and polished in a pillow of fiberglass – which looks more like a big white cloud in a large wooden bowl. The color slowly appears as the glass is dried and then the shaped paperweight is put into a kiln overnight.
As a visual 2D artist, it is nice to be able to experiment in other arts – especially 3D. I get so absorbed in rendering shapes and figures on canvas and then applying color – it is nice to be able to step away and try something different. To see how glass absorbs colors and observe how the pigment changes with heat and as it cools is interesting. A nice break from brushes and paper while still applying the right brain and offering creative outlets – which is what an Artist retreat should be!
Below are some photos from my wonderful experience at the Liquid Light Glass Factory in Santa Fe, New Mexico – as well as my own paperweight creation.
As always, I love to read your comments, please do leave me your thoughts below!