Last week I had the pleasure of co-hosting a glass making/glass blowing event at Scanlan Glass with Random Events. Scanlan Glass was a little bit out of the way, in Red Hook, Brooklyn by the water but the experience was worth it. Inside the studio were displays of beautiful glass artistry, from vases to circular objects and much more in gorgeous clear colors.
As for the equipment, there is an ever-burning furnace, glory holes, ovens which are made by Kevin (the owner) using new and recycled materials found in the Brooklyn area.
Our instructors, Kevin and Seth were knowledgeable and helpful. Kevin started off with a brief introduction about glass blowing, while Seth demonstrated by making a glass vase. It was very cool to see the process in action. Before we were able to try glass making for ourselves, we had to practice holding the glass making-stick and keep it rotating throughout. After that, it was time to make our own glass paperweight!
Step 1: Put the stick into the furnace to obtain the melted glass, which was probably the toughest part for me because you have to get fairly close to the heat and hold the stick a certain way while keeping the stick moving.
Step 2: We had to cool the glass by rotating it steadily against the metal and then placing the stick in the Glory hole to reheat the glass.
Step 3: We rolled the hot glass in the color we wanted (colors were in powder form). I chose to mix pale pink and blue together.
Then we repeated the process of sticking the glass in the furnace and Glory hole. Once that was done, we sat at the workstation and quickly poked holes onto the heated glass to make bubbles and then we shaped the glass to make it smooth and rounded.
When we finished adding all the touches to our glass, the instructor took the glass off the stick and smoothed the bottom then placed our glass creation in a special oven to cool the glass slowly. After we had all finished, the instructors gave us a glass blowing demonstration and made a mug. It was pretty amazing to watch and see how much skill, precision and beauty is involved in it all. One of the coolest parts was when Kevin transferred the mug from one stick to another in a single, smooth movement and also when the handle was added on.
We had to wait a day to pick up our glass paperweight creation, but they came out beautifully. Mine was medium sized, with a decent amount of bubbles and swirls that had turned purple-pinkish in the process. I had wanted the light pink and blue to keep their individual colors but my glass still looks lovely.
All in all, what a great experience despite the distance. It was awesome to see the glass blowing in action, and then making our own glass was a lot of fun. It also made me feel accomplished for being able to create such a beautiful piece of glass with my own two hands. Okay, with guidance from Seth, one of the capable instructors.
Location: 499 Van Brunt Street in Brooklyn, NY