Each year my sister Connie and I host a small party for our friends at the Glass Studio at the Sonoran Art Foundation to make hand-blown glass Christmas ornaments. It’s called BYOB (Blow Your Own Ball)—not named by us but by the foundation folks. I have given some away but I have quite a collection of glass ornaments I’ve made for our tree.
Our event this year was Saturday, Nov. 10 from 9 until noon. We always schedule it before Thanksgiving because some folks need them for their holiday travels. I’m thrilled that my son Brent and his girlfriend Jen were able to join us this year. They made two ornaments each.
The process begins with a glob of super hot glass.
Super hot glass blob as evidenced by the color.
The hot glob is rolled in colored glass pieces called frit.
Then it’s shaped with a wet wooden scoop to get the initial shape and then with metal tongs as you blow through this long tube as shown by Brent below.
When the ornament is done to your satisfaction, it’s time to cut it off the original glob form and make the little stem and hook for hanging. The colors are starting to emerge but the glass is still super hot.
These are Brent’s finished projects. The first one is sitting on a folded wine gift bag to give you somewhat an idea of size.
Here is Jen making her ornaments.
And here are her beautiful results.
Being me, I got carried away and made two glass ball ornaments, a tree topper, and a glass bowl.
This is my tree topper; the end on the right goes on the top branch of the tree. The tree topper project was really what they called their “icicles” but I didn’t want the hanging hook and asked them leave an opening instead for using as a tree topper. When we picked up our glass pieces yesterday, they asked me what ideas I had about improving things—always a mistake to ask me such questions as I always have an answer. So I suggested that the opening end should be extended more to make a longer tube for inserting a tree branch and that the entire topper should be longer and fatter in the middle. We’ll see what happens next year.
The following photo is my bowl in progress; the opening is being enlarged and shaped.
Here I’m making the lip of my bowl by flattening and smoothing it with a wood paddle as the guy is turning it.
And here’s my bowl.
These are my two ornaments.
We had a great time and many gorgeous glass ornaments were made by every member of our party. I took Brent and Jen to the airport this morning—it was so terribly hard to say goodbye—but they left with many treasures from their trip here and beautiful ornaments for their Christmas decorating that they made themselves.