Glass History

I finally chose my major in college when they told me I couldn’t take any more credits until I declared one. I didn’t want to make a bad choice, so for a long time, I didn’t make a choice. Architecture, Geology, Philosophy, Drama and Biology all entered my mind as potential targets. But I chose Art. Fine Art, also called Studio Arts was my selection. (It conjures visions of the starving artist in a loft, no?) Then it was done. Seemingly cast in stone, I was on a path more specific than I ever had been before.

That year was also the year the University shut it’s hot glass kilns. They discontinued glass blowing as an area of study because the school couldn’t afford to pay for the gas kilns to run. So instead of being a glass blower, I am a photographer. Not that I didn’t do my fair share of glass work in college, it was just all cast glass, cold glass and neon. I still marvel as how much time I spent with torches, sticking together glass tubes full of phosphor, then running 15,000 volts through them and filling them with noble gas (neon or argon) and mercury. Yep, I’ll bet they don’t let college students play with mercury anymore. Or 15,000 volts. But I digress.
The whole point is, I still love hot glass and from the moment I moved to Seattle I’ve loved Dale Chihuly’s work (actually I love his creative process more than his work – genius, that). I’ve since seen half a dozen glass shops (Seattle is lousy with them) but I’ve never blown glass until last week when my son and I finally went and tried it at Rainier Glass Studio in SODO (the warehouse district of Seattle, which also has our baseball and football stadiums). The space itself was fantastic. So I took photos and marveled at how I really should have been a starving artist in a loft somewhere… 
Color choices, kilns and sample finished pieces on the wall.
Adding colored flecks


Into the kiln


All by himself – he’s a natural


My turn – this feels like home.


Setting the finished piece in its molten base
A week later when I went to pick the pieces up (they need to cool slowly over 4 days), I was alone, and just stood still in the space outside the kiln room, soaking up the feeling of the place. 




Did I mention I love graffiti?


Truly, when I went back to NYC for the first time after almost 30 years, I was dismayed to find the subway trains completely free of their beautiful spray painted art.




So now I am on a glass kick. Next post will be about hot glass from another point of view.