My wife Marsha and I have been glass collectors for over 20 years. In 2004 David Bennett a noted Seattle artist encouraged me to come to Seattle to take a few lessons in glass blowing. David sensed I had a passion and he proved right as my experience in Seattle convinced me that blowing glass was perfect for my personality. What I did not realize was how difficult it was and is to master the many skills necessary to make even a simple vessel. Over the years I have taken classes at various studios as well as worked one on one with successful artists. In each case I have learned valuable lessons allowing me to grow exponentially and more quickly.
For the past 3 years, I have been working at the Flame Run Glass Studio in Louisville, Ky. I have collaborated with fellow artist Paul Nelson who I met at Pilchuck Glass School. Paul has helped me grow into a more creative artist as well as learn many techniques which are valuable in creating unique art. The glass art community is a very tight knit group of people worldwide. This community is open to new artists and more than willing to assist them in learning the craft.
The 2 most often asked questions are:
- How do you get the color into the glass?
- How long does it take to make a finished piece of art glass?
Most blown glass vessels begin with a bubble of clear glass which then has color added to it. In some cases it is a solid mass of color which is overlaid on the bubble. Another is to add small rods of color called cane (previously created) and wrap them around the bubble of glass. A third method is to use ground up colored glass and roll the hot bubble over the glass to add the color. The ground glass is called frit and comes in many sizes. An additional method is to have individual pots of melted color in a furnace and gather the colored glass directly from the pot. In some cases more than one technique is used depending on the design.
The question of time to make a piece is deceiving. If you take all the years an artist has worked to gain his skills and make the piece then obviously the answer is years. If the question is merely how long did it take to make the piece in the studio not counting pre-made parts and finishing and polishing, the time would vary depending on the size and complexity of the piece. I have been in studios watching Maestro’s spend 3 or 4 hours to make a single piece. I have also been in production studios where small vessels can be made in 5 to 10 minutes.
Hope this helps. Feel free to email me with any other questions.