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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Something New and Different

 I've always been fascinated with glass. I've played around with stained glass, and my tools and a stash of colored glass are still waiting in storage back in Missouri.  It's something I plan to take up again when I have the room to do it.
 When we went to Silver Dollar City, I'd stand and watch the glass blowers as long as my family or friends would let me.  But glass blowing is not a craft one can take up at home, and so I never really thought much about learning that craft.
Recently, a friend found a groupon for the Redmond School of Glass, and we took a mini glass blowing class. We each got to choose one of 3 color combos and decide if we wanted to add texture to our ornament or float. 

The nice young man in the photo pulled a glob of molten glass from the furnace, then handed me the pipe to apply a coat of crushed lavendar, pink and blue glass, then I heated the glob in the "glory hole" and repeatd the crushed glass coating.  The hard part was remembering to continually turn the pipe so that the glob did not start to slump off the pipe.  By keeping up a constant turning motion, the glob stays more or less round. I opted for texture, applied by the instructor, who laid the glass into a wooden mold cut inside with a diamond pattern. Our instructor plopped the hot glass into the mold and gave a puff of air to expand the ball, which picked up the pattern. It sort of reminded me of one of my antique target balls.

 We worked in teams under close supervision...the glass starts at nearly 2000 degrees and cools slowly. While another  student did the blowing, I shaped the hot glass. Here, the danger is in squeezing too hard and cutting off the glob. Getting the correct grip was the most difficult part for me to catch on to.
(I thought the blowing part was easy - it did not take nearly as much air as blowing up a balloon.)
This is what we wanted to see as the still red-hot glass expanded into a neat round shape.  Our instructor cut off the finished ball, then quickly formed a loop on top to create the hanger for the ornament. Then he stuck it in an oven to cool slowly overnight.  If glass cools too quickly, bad things can happen!
It wasn't until 2 days later that I got to see the finished result.  I think it's very pretty, and I'd like totake more classes. Check out the website at

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My Favorite Fiction Authors and Books

  • Suzanne Arruda- the Jade del Cameron mysteries: "The Mark of the Lion" "Stalking Ivory", "The Serpent's Daughter", "The Leopard's Prey" and "The Golden Cheetah"
  • Ken Goddard - "Balefire" and others
  • Stephen White - the Dr. Alan Gregory books are all great. "Kill Me" is my favorite.
  • Harlan Coben - anything he writes is great
  • Elizabeth Peters - Amelia Peabody mysteries

My Favorite Nonfiction Authors and Books

  • "Coyote's Guide to Connecting With Nature" by Jon Young, Ellen Haas and Evan McGown- 2nd edition coming soon!
  • Gavin De Becker - "The Gift of Fear"
  • "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales- the best survival book I've ever read! Not a how-to, its more of a who does,and why.
  • Candice Millard - "The River of Doubt -Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey"
  • Anything that starts with "Peterson's Field Guide To..."
  • Tom Brown, Jr. - "The Tracker" and others
  • Mark Elbroch - "Mammal Tracks and Sign" and "Animal Skulls"