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Thursday, November 7, 2013

What a Wednesday!

It's been a great week and yesterday was another great day!  It was my baby's 45th birthday!!  And I got to have dinner with all the kids (minus Amber who is in D.C. on a class trip!).  
This is my baby with his baby!  Although, don't let Nick hear I called him his dad's 'baby'!!  I was at my glass workshop (more on that later in this post) and after I picked up Nick at school we met Darrin at Sagebrush Mexican Restaurant in Lake Orion, in came Kris (my DIL), next was Uncle Jeffie then Dawn arrived after getting out of a meeting at work around 5:10!  It was so nice to be with the kids again...grandpa was back home meeting with his pals at the local pub then he headed home to take care of Kalee and Gracie.

So now...about my workshop!  The kids bought me a workshop about two years ago for Mother's Day...due to my schedule and the glass works schedule, it was put off until yesterday.

I arrived at the Pine Lake Glassworks at 1:00 p.m. for my three hour workshop!  And we worked the entire 3 hours...well, the owner Dave Hilty worked hard!   Mr. Hilty is very organized and had a great workshop outline which he followed easily.  He's quite knowledgeable and obviously quite good at this art form.  Just look at some of his pieces on his web site here.  Anyway, he started out showing me the basic principles, safety and tools of glass making.

Next, he got right to work making a paperweight!  He explained each step, which i tried to maintain in my mind, as I was up next to make a paperweight for myself!  It really was intimating reaching the pipe into the glass furnace to capture some melted glass...

Obviously, I couldn't take pics of myself, so just replace Mr. Hilty with me!  OK, so I wasn't that good at capturing the glass or controlling it but I did make a paperweight!!  There are several steps to just make a solid paperweight!  You start with glass, gather more glass pieces, add more clear glass, shaping..yada, yada...there's a lot to it!!!!  Who knew!
Yep...that's my paperweight!!  All of the pieces we made went into another oven that is lower in temperature and continues to drop in temperature to allow the glass to cool.  The glass has to cool down over a 6-8 hour period otherwise the glass would crack.

Next up Mr. Hilty showed how to make a Christmas ornament.  This really is an art to master!  You have to gather your glass, then 'puff' into the blow pipe to create a small bubble.  Then it's on to gather more color or 'frit' as it's called...more heating...more shaping and blowing to achieve the size you want!  Whew!  It was so amazing to see Mr. H. make the glass turn into a thin, delicate ornament!
If you look close you can see a small bubble started!

So now it's my turn...and we were working pretty good!  That is up until it was back in the furnace to heat the glass ornament and I let the pipe fall to the ground...YIKES!!!!  Oh no!!!  I felt so bad because, first, it was my ornament and second, I don't like to waste anything...all I could see was the glass on the cement floor.

Mr. H. was so kind and said, "no, we'll do it again.  No problem."  And that's what we did..but once again, I caused a bit of an 'oops' by squeezing the tongs too much...I closed off the opening he needed to blow into the bubble to increase the size!  But, hey, that's ok. I ended up with a cool shape for an ornament...actually, it looks more like an egg shape so I figure I can have it sitting out all year long!!!    These are some pictures of Mr. H showing me how to shape pieces of heated glass.   This was his paperweight.

Actually, I think this is my paperweight...I had lots of glass on the pipe!!  The round area at the bottom is actually my you can see how much extra glass I grabbed from the furnace!  
Around 3:30 Mr. H. said he would show me how to make a cup and if I wanted to make one I could.  I opted for him to make it for me!  This is a video of Mr. H. shaping the glass mug!  Cool isn't it!
So THANKS, first to my kids for getting me this gift of a workshop and thanks to Dave Hilty for being such a great instructor!!!  Anyone interested in purchasing or just seeing some of his work can do so this coming Saturday, Nov. 9 from noon - 5 p.m.  He also sells some of his glass at other galleries...check out the pine Lake Glassworks web site and sign up for emails so you know where they'll be next!  We attend their open house every fall and always find great gifts!


  1. Cool! I have a cobalt blue ball, two paper weights and a beautiful clear glass with orange stripes on it from Mark's classes that he took. I really wish he would have stuck with it. He did great I think. I'm glad you had fun!

  2. I am so impressed that you did this! And you were reasonably successful at something so new. wow. It would be intimidating and challenging I'm sure, esp. with those giant gloves.

  3. How brave of you to take this workshop. Fire and glass and blowing just aren't for me. Your paperweight is a treasure. Mr. H must be very patient to have classes for novices. Happy birthday to your baby. Where do the years go? Will you do more glass blowing? Peace and Joy...

  4. Wow!!! You trained your kids well in the gifting department...... it was fascinating....tx's for sharing your day.


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