Playing With Fire

What should you do with yourself on a sunny. 26+ degree Sunday, the first truly spring/summer day in Toronto?  Well, I went to a glass blowing workshop, which involves traipsing into a smallish room off an alley featuring an opened doored blast furnace.  Sort of like what Hell might look like if run by a couple of delightful hippy women.

“Workshop” might be a bit of a misnomer.  The experience was far more remedial than that – it would be akin to calling the petting ponds at the aquarium a workshop in oceanography. We were given a brief description of the sequence of events and then we turned over to largely let the experts set us up then spend  a few minutes doing an activity that could best be described as “twiddling” to keep the glass turning, which is remarkably tiring.  I am completely on board with the limitations on our activities –  it would seem more than a tad unwise to let a bunch of sweaty novices run about with a blob of molten sand on a stick – but it was a little more hands off than I was expecting.  The class were there to learn how to make hearts which is exactly as complex as you may imagine – an extended amorphous globule with a divot.  You are handed a rod with the hot glass on one end once the instructor has rescued it from the fire, then you rotate it in the furnace to keep it evenly distributed (the aforementioned “twiddling”), then roll in some glass crystals to add colour and return it to the flame.  I was warned not to spend too much time adding the darkest one as if there was too much it could make the heart look black.  Clearly the instructor did not know who she was dealing with.

There was but one oven to we had to take turn individually, so while we had a small class of six there was still some significant down time.  To fill the gaps we were each given a T-shirt to paint.  It was a little day care-y for my liking (again, the women were LOVELY) made only more immature by my own T-Shirt artwork.












My partner in crime wrote “Ow” on his in red so I am not the only one who was up for a childish romp during playtime.

Shaped glass takes a long time to cool and is set in a separate oven to let the temperature come down slowly to avoid cracking.  We left the kiln and were to pick up our works of art a few days hence.  Here is mine.















I think there is chance it looked better as sand.






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