I got to pick up the paperweights Toby and I made in the glassblowing workshop this weekend.

The one on the left, in my hand for scale, is mine. The other is Toby's. Despite the name of the class, there was no blowing involved. The instructor got a blob of glass on the end of the pole and we got to dip it into shards of colored glass to add the colors, put them into the smaller furnace to reheat and melt a bit, and then use metal pincers to manipulate the molten glass into the swirls you see (poking it deeply to trap air bubbles, too). Once we were happy with the swirls we'd created, the instructor then put a larger blob of clear molten glass on it, and helped us keep rolling the pole--gravity works, believe it or not! and the molten glass will droop when it's still molten if not kept rolling--while we shaped it into a ball with wooden cup-things that we kept dipping into water to keep from catching fire. We then used larger pincers to form a neck, added a bit of water to create thermal shock, and then rapped the pole to make the ball crack off into the instructor's Kevlar-gloved hands.

He put them in their cooling box after that, then on Monday or Tuesday after it was cool, ground the base down to a smooth spot so they'd sit flat, and hey presto: paperweights. They're pretty heavy--Toby weighed them and I think mine's a bit over a pound, and Toby's is a quarter of a pound heavier than that. Mine's also just a hair lopsided, although you have to be looking closely to see, while Toby managed to get his almost perfectly rounded. XD

They're going to our parents for Christmas, and as they're our parents they have to say they love them. Win-win situation!

I knew that I wanted the cobalt-colored glass in mine, as Mom loves cobalt glass and has a small collection of it, and the instructor suggested the other colors. Toby went for blue on blue on blue because his mom likes blue. One of them is a silver blue, which changes color a bit when in contact with other colors, but you can't really tell from this pic.

I also bought a glass piece for Mom when picking the paperweights up. It's a dish, about 10-12" square, made up of cobalt-blue glass strips woven together. I wish that I could say I realized the weaving theme would work for Mom as she's a weaver before I got it home, but I was only thinking of the cobalt blue glass and how she likes that and not how extra-appropriate it was. XD

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Tags: christmas
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