Saturday, 13 August 2011

Springy Glass

I'm still enjoying the effects and memories from my wonderful time at Art in Action.  One of the demonstrations which amazed me was in the glass marquee.  There was a stage, raised up down one side, on which was a glass kiln and also a large drum furnace.  Very spectacular.

The glass workers had long metal poles, at the end of one was a 'blob' of glass - this was plunged into the heat and swizzled and held until hot (melty) enough.  It was swiftly withdrawn and touched to the end of another long pole laid across a workbench and rolled and spun by another worker. The first glass pole person held the blob at just the right distance from the second pole, to keep the fluidity of the glass and the thickness of coil just right - too close and the coil would be too fat and snap on cooling.

This was repeated, the pole with glass plunged into the fire, brought out, touched to the second pole, glass adhered, pulled out and then coils magically appearing.  It was mesmerising.  The heat prevented me getting as close as I would have liked.

The little springs slid off the pole.  This was clear glass, which, prior to being heated, had been rolled in red glass powder, which gave it this pinky colouring. 

I just had to pick it up - and to my incredible surpise, the glass spring, sprung - it worked like a real spring, I squished and bounced it, and the beautiful little glass spiral remained intact and compressed and expanded in my fingers.  I came out of the marquee face burning and red with heat, and blinking in wonder.

I'm not sure which of the glass demonstraters I saw, so I'll just mention them all - the glass work was stunning.  Anthony Wassell, Heather Konschuh, Charlotte Sale, Liam Reeves, Jeremy Wintrebert, Tim Boswell, Graham Muir, Bruce Marks, Louis Thompson, and Phil Atrill

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