Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"October's poplars are flaming torches lighting the way to winter."

Quote by Nova Blair.

As you may be able to tell, I'm getting caught up on some blog posts I have had tucked away in a dusty corner of my mind. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and though this has been a difficult fall, I'm grateful for many things, far too many to enumerate. I'm grateful to be enjoying the lovely weather we've had, although I hear that will be ending this week. A blustery prologue from winter may greet us immediately following Turkey Day. My office smells like cinnamon, courtesy of the scented sticks I brought in to decorate. I feel as though I'm sitting at home every time I take a deep breath.
October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came -
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.

~George Cooper, "October's Party"

Last evening I had my third glass workshop, fall leaves in the hot shop. They won't be ready until next week, so I won't tempt you with details without a picture just yet. But I missed telling you about my wine topper workshop, a flame workshop using the torch.

I sucked at it. And not just a little, like clay. A lot. Don't get me wrong, I like my little fubar wine topper. As my instructor Melissa (who attempted to comfort me) said, it's MY wine topper. I don't think that's a satisfying defense. After all, you're just pointing out again that it's my mess. That's her working with another student and you can see the torch going. The torch takes a lot of practice (which admittedly I don't have) and a lot of patience (which I do have, but not enough). It's hard to know if you have it blowing hot enough or with enough oxygen vs. gas, plus the time it takes to heat up the glass rods to manipulate them seems endless. It was more frustrating when I tried to shape it, messed up, couldn't fix it because it had cooled already plus you can't touch it, and then have to wait for it to heat up all over again before another attempt. I had maybe 5 or 6 different shapes/designs and either I would like it and try to move on (and instead accidentally ruin it) or I didn't like the design. After receiving help from Melissa (who rounded it quite nicely for me) and then ruining it again, I decided to make it a square shape. I had put so much color in it that I had no idea what it would look like when it came out. And the attachment I used to get it off the punty ended up sticking, so I just swirled it and made it appear deliberate. I just noticed while taking photos of it that I somehow managed to add bubbles!

Long story short, I have a far greater appreciation for glass working than I did. It's very frustrating to not be able to touch it with your hands and shape it how you want. You have to let the tools do it for you. And it takes skill, knowledge, and patience. For now, I prefer the hot shop with it's almost instantaneous ability to heat up the glass.

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