Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Expanding our skills!

Here's something new we tried yesterday and just got out of the annealer today. It's a five piece incalmo. It's the first time we have ever tried incalmo, and we did five of them. Very pleased with our first one. I know they will get better with practice. It's 23" tall before cold working. The four incalmo cups are in the annealer before we start. The 5th one was already on the pipe. The middle picture is before it was blown out. It looks pretty cool like that.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Well, we finally did it! We were shooting for a "Raffinato" style piece of 30" in the "perfect world", 27" up to 30" in the "normal world". We were about 29 1/4" before cold working. We ended up with 28" exactly. Not the 30" but close. Actually we were over 31" before we transfered. Our glory hole is only 24-26" deep. We had to keep 3 torches on it to keep it from cracking. (You can see the picture) This was our third attempt. We (Micah, Krista, and I) had glass on the pipe about 3 1/2 hours with about 1 hour prep time before that. I would say for where we are now, a 28" finished piece is about 10 times harder than a 15"-16" piece. As we progress, I know that will change. After that we blew a 16" piece and that used to be stressful. No stress. It felt like nothing on the end of the pipe. we guess the finished piece weighs between 12 and 13 pounds. Doesn't sound like much weight, but wait until you get that stretched out 30' on the end of the blow pipe with a thick moile, and the glass moving. Anyway, we want to thank Roy for helping (actually he did it and we barely helped him) cold work the piece! Roy did a great job! Roy, you the MAN! Here are a few pictures.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Atten Karl!

Karl, if you are following my blog, this will be of interest to you. For everyone else here's the scoop. Karl came into the restaurant in February looking for some glass and commissioned one of our multicolored raffinato pieces. He needed it to be as large as we could get it to be to fit the scale of his house. (big house!) He wanted the vase 30" tall. I told him, we never had done one that big before, but I knew we could eventually get it done. Since some of our operation is outside we try to avoid blowing some things when its cold for obvious reasons. We had some cold spells and wet spells and knowing we needed something bigger than we ever had blown before we waited for a better weather. Finally an almost decent day came and we started. The piece got too cold and cracked before we could even transfer. I figured out that in addition to needing a warmer day than what we had, we also needed a second large hand torch. I bought a second torch and waited for the perfect day. Today(Saturday) was that perfect day! We started at about 5:30 pm. It was going wonderful until the transfer (about 10-15 minutes from completing a beautiful 30 inch piece.) @ about 8:54 pm. The transfer was made and then after the transfer and on the way to the glory hole the piece fell off and busted on the concrete. Here are some photos. Hey, it was only Micah and I and Linda came and helped us man(in her case, "woman") the other torch and the camera. We saw Lino making pieces that big and he had some of the best glass blowers in the nation helping him, sometimes 3 or 4 assistants that had been helping him 12 -15 years. So considering everything, we did pretty good and are getting better. We are going to get the 30 inch piece completed! (Just not today). That pesky "Global Warming" that happens every year about this time is coming upon us again, which will give us perfectly warm glass blowing weather again and we will get that 30" piece done. You will notice the bright sunshine when we started and the darkness when we finished. That's the longest a piece has ever taken us! With all the multiple pick-ups and reheats it just takes us awhile. To give you an idea of the scale of the piece, the tool bench part of my glass blowing bench is 28' long, by the time we would have transfered it and stretched the neck out like we usually do, we could have easily gotten another 6' out of it! The last picture kinda says it all.(ha ha!) - I'm laughing to keep from crying.