Saturday, June 30, 2007

Blown Glass at Georgia Southwestern

molten glass
Americus, Georgia: Georgia Southwestern State University was the last stop on our visit to Americus. My cousin had hoped to treat us by letting us see a glass-blowing demonstration, but had been unable to schedule it. We dropped in anyway, unexpectedly ~ and on a Sunday, no less ~ to find one of the professors just about to start on a project. He was nice and gracious, and seemed not at all discomposed to find a drop-in audience of six. He treated us to an impromptu demonstration of the art of glass blowing. It was fascinating to watch, and a much more involved process than we had realized. Television specials on the subject cut segments to shorten the program.
hot molded glass
glass mold
glass artisan working
He explained a common misconception, that people think of the glass-blowing process as being mostly a blowing process; but there is a minimal amount of blowing into the hot glass, just enough to form a small air bubble inside of it. The air pocket will expand as the glass is heated. The vase went into the furnace, or glory hole, many times before the piece was finished. Watching it flare out as he spun it into its final shape was a beautiful thing to see! The final blown-glass piece was very nice. We saw it briefly before he put it into a kiln to cool down slowly.

glory hole furnace
flared glass shape
blown glass
shaping the glass
hot glass

finished glass vase
georgia southwestern sign

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