Over the past years I have been making Memorial Orbs for people – strangers who seek me out from a Facebook Add or saw my card at a craft fair. And there are questions; questions before, during and in between, here are some:
Q: You can go to school for Glass?
A: Why yes you can, I did. I attended Sheridan College in Oakville Ontario, quite a prestigious school among the glass community. I learned how to blow the glass, the chemistry of the glass, art history, photography, and the business part.
Q: Do you ever burn yourself?
A: Yes. In my first year I experienced a 3rd degree burn on my leg, a few good ones on my arms and hands… if I hurt myself on a regular basis I wouldn’t do it. Burns hurt! Usually it happens when I am careless, or cocky and sometimes just plain over tired.
Q: Is the color tissue paper in there?
A: The glass is gathered at 2120 degrees Fahrenheit – tissue paper wouldn’t…. No. No it’s not tissue paper. Metal colors the glass, copper can be a beautiful teal or a red for instance. And it’s not like paint.
Q: Do you make hearts?
A: No. I only break them 😉
Q: Can I get a deal if I buy 2 or more?
A: I never know quite how to answer this question – do I explain my personal business that running my electric 135 lb furnace & annealer kill the hydro bill or the gas bill from the glory hole. Or the schooling and practise I have dedicated to this beautiful craft. But no, I usually just say “each orb is individually handmade and as an independent glass blower I just can’t do things for cheaper.”
Q: Do you teach classes? You should.
A: Nah, there is no way you can learn in an afternoon. If you want to learn how to blow glass, and you’re not willing to go to school for it then you show up to a hot shop and you do the grunt work. You learn by watching, assisting, cleaning, cold working and then one day the gaffer (glass blower) will let you try. This sport is for the committed, it’s so expensive and not a lot of blowers will let you handle their tools…
Q: Do you make bongs?
A: No I don’t. I blow with an art glass that is too soft and the minute you add heat to it, it would explode. I am what the glass community refers to as a furnace blower, or glass blower. Bongs are usually made of “Boro” glass which is a harder glass that can take temperature shock such as heat and made by torch workers or flame workers.
Q: Can you make me something like So & So makes?
A: No. I can’t in good faith copy another artists idea and sell it. There is a code and I take a lot of pride in the designs I come up with. If you like a makers product, buy it! It makes my day every time some loves one of my pieces, a lot goes into each piece, a lot. It may just look like a cup to you – but for me there was a good 10 on the ground before I got them into the annealer 🙂
Keep asking the questions! I love sharing with each and every one of you what I do, and how amazing it is. Glass is stubborn, it’s testy, and actually rather moody! But it can be so very rewarding too once you relax and go with piece instead of fighting with it. Life isn’t always “on centre”!