For years Greg has wanted to visit Chattanooga. We keep hoping that one of these trips we will be able to hook up with Karen at Homeschool Girls but it was Kei’s performance week and sadly they could not drive up. Next time hopefully!
Like Knoxville, Chattanooga is a smallish city where many things are within walking distance from the downtown hotels. We stayed in the new LEED Certified Hampton Inn. It was beautiful and comfortable. Hampton Inn is one of our favorite chains and we consistently receive excellent service and clean accommodations for a reasonable price.
Our first adventure was to visit a glass blower at iGNiS for a lesson and a glass blowing experience. We were able to choose the shape of our ornament (smooth or grooved), the base color and if any secondary colors would be used. The professional glass blowing artist began the process by extracting the glass from the 2,000 degree oven. He shaped it into an sphere thus beginning the shape. He dipped it into the crushed class to give it its first color. Then we were able to join in by turning the ornament in the oven until he deemed it satisfactory. It was then dipped into a second color and returned to the oven where we turned it for about 2 more minutes. The glass was then taken out and brought to a metal table where it was blown with a big puff of air by the glass blower. He quickly shaped it and then gave us a mouthpiece which he attached to the hollow pole containing the glass sphere at the end. Holding air in your cheeks, you puff it out slowly and consistently per his directions. When it is the proper size you stop! The glass is broken off the pole and the ornament is finished by adding a clear dollop of glass which is expertly shaped into the hanger. The glass ornament is carefully placed into a cooling box for at least 12 hours. The pieces can be shipped or picked up the following day.
Greg made an ornament with orange and white, the colors of the University of Tennessee, that he gave to his parents as a thank you gift for their hospitality. I made a salmon colored smooth ornament. Lilah choose a grooved ornament in confetti colors and Grace layered two stunning shades of blue. Lilah was able to obtain grooves by placing her unblown glass into a metal mold. It cools just enough to hold the grooves yet still be blown into the spherical shape.
This was something I will never forget. I hope if we ever return this studio is still there so we can make another. They are too pretty to put out only at Christmas time. I have plans for these beauties to hang in my kitchen window.