Sunday, March 17, 2013

Glass Ornaments

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.


Anonymous said...

Chattanooga seems like a fun, cool, funky kind of place. I think I will put it on my list of destinations!

We did glass blowing at the beach. I love blown glass and all the colors and shapes and how they reflect light. So cool!

Jessica said...

We enjoyed it. My favorite thing was the River Gorge Ride through the TN Aquarium. The girls liked Rock City and Greg liked the ability to walk everywhere (except to Rock City, that was 6 miles away). I would definitely go about since I never got to the Hunter Museum of Art and a small off beat museum called the Houston Museum. We really liked our hotel too!

H-Mama said...

this is pretty amazing. our girls were able to watch this once, but not actually blow the glass themselves. oh, so cool.
(thank you for the sweet, encouraging comment on our blog. i think we would get along just splendidly in person. ;)

Jessica said...

You are welcome. It is so easy to say cut back, or honor at home days, but in reality when you are supporting the aspirations of two other people, days fill up and schedules get hectic. Somewhere in the middle of that it is easy to lose ourselves a little bit. That is one reason while I keep blogging. I find the support I need for when life gets too crazy. I would love to slow down and actually have an at-home day but that won't happen for another month. Until then there is coffee!

Frogcreek said...

That looks really fun and I bet they look stunning!

Jessica said...

They are. I want to get a decorative rod to hang in my kitchen window and string them up so they catch the morning light.

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