I'm a freelance travel writer living in Brisbane. Visit my blog at www.aussieglobetrotter.net.
Published November 15th 2016
Learn the ancient art of glass blowing
Squinting into the bright sun-like orb, I feel the intense heat from the fire pulsing through my hands and face as I carefully rotate the rod, trying to keep the molten glass from dripping off like honey. I am participating in a glass blowing workshop with Elodie Holmes at Liquid Light Glass.
Liquid Light Glass Studio
I was keen to learn all about this ancient art form and there was no better place to learn - just a short flight from Dallas, Santa Fe in New Mexico, certainly lives up to its moniker, "The City Different". Steeped in history and culture, and boasting amazing art galleries, architecture and mountainous panoramas' this was the ideal city to find inspiration and unleash my creativity.
Elodie is the owner and founder of Liquid Light Glass. She is skilled and passionate about glass blowing, having honed her craft for 35 years. Elodie offers both private and group sessions with the private session costing $175 an hour.
In one hour, I created five pieces of art – three flowers, a paperweight and a drinking glass. Each creation built upon the techniques I learnt previously.
Glass blowing combines art and science and I soon learnt the constant movements of the glass blowing choreography. Dipping the amber mass into coloured crushed glass; rotating the rod in the furnace and rolling the glass on the stainless steel table were the foundations. Then the stretching, twisting and manipulation began. I was a little slow on the plier work so the metal began sticking to the glass like taffy; however, after a quick visit to the furnace, the glass became more pliable.
Manipulation with pliers
My confidence grew after creating my three flowers and a paperweight and I was ready to tackle the drinking glass. As I lengthened the burnt orange glass by swinging the blowpipe backwards and forwards, fond childhood memories of my jazz ballet classes came flowing back. With the glass lengthened, here was my opportunity to try glass blowing and it was just like blowing up a balloon, as I tried to form the perfect bubble.
Swinging the rod
The glass blowing choreography was even accompanied by music: the sound of glass snapping, cracking and popping off a hot rod into a bucket of water was music to my ears.
As the glass requires at least one night to slowly cool in the kiln, I recommend participating in this class at the beginning of your Santa Fe visit. Otherwise, Elodie is happy to ship your pieces within the United States, at an additional cost.
While the process was a little challenging at times, this was a fun class and watching a blob of molten glass transform before my eyes was inspirational and now I have a number of unique souvenirs to admire.