Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Blow Your Own Ball

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.

25 comments:

nyjlm said...

wow, everything is beautiful and I'm so envious of the experience! Wish we had something like that nearby.

Yummers! said...

I don't know where to start... I'm overwhelmed. Everything you all made is so beautiful!! Your bowl is a knock-out! What fun... I'd love to try that.

I'm so glad you included pics of Brent and Jen. They are such a good-looking couple. It's so much fun to meet everyone's children.

Thanks June, for a fantastic post.
Hugs, joni

Rosie's Whimsy said...

What an amazing thing to do. How special to hand those down through your family. You do the most amazing things, June!

Mrs. Staggs said...

I live in the land of Mt. St. Helens, and the volcano ash from there is often used in glass blowing around our area. I have a few ornaments like these, that have been gifts, hanging on my tree each year. I love the way they capture the light.
Yours are lovely June!

Keri said...

Those are so pretty! I'd LOVE to be able to do it - and I'm with you, I wouldn't be able to stop at just one ball. How fun!!!

Thimbleanna said...

Oh my gosh Junie! They're all so beautiful. I'd love to try something like that!

Miss Sassy said...

Thanks for showing us how that all works. I never knew. How fun!

rohanknitter said...

Wow, they are all so beautiful and it looks like fun. What a great and unique thing to do!

Fiona @ Dragonfly-Crafts said...

What a great idea. Love them all, love the pic of you. So much concentration. Can't wait to see it on your tree.

Lynn said...

What beautiful creations! It looks like fun, I'll have to see if there are any places like that around here.

meg said...

OK, that is incredibly cool! What a wonderful keepsake to add to an ornament (/bowl/tree topper) collection.

Aren't the goodbyes the very worst thing about family visits? (Well, most of the time....) It just never gets any easier.

Storybook Woods said...

Oh my gosh that looks like so much fun !!! Clarice

greetingarts said...

Oh my gosh, stunning!

a pink-bee said...

Oh WOW! This is totally cool!
crystal xo

kim said...

What a great holiday tradition! Beautiful!

Lisa said...

This is a wonderful pic by pic explanation for my kids about how glass is made. I wonder if there's something like that near us? I'll sure look now! So beautiful!

Maize Hutton said...

Oh man! I've always wanted to do that!

TinkerBlue said...

This is awesome, time with family & friends, a fun activity, beautiful decorations to take home. I wish we had something like that near here.

Dannielle said...

They're absolutely beautiful!! Looks like loads of fun too.

Katie Jean said...

That is amazing! And it looks like so much fun!

Mrs.Kwitty said...

That is soo COOL! Wow, I love that you got to have that wonderful experience AND the things you made are so beautiful! Yeah!
Smiles, Karen

Saucy said...

How wonderful. This is exactly like the event my cousin went to last weekend. I should have gone,

SOINSPIRED said...

Incredible. I wish I had known about that place when we lived in Tucson. Your creations are beautiful.

kimsherrod said...

Junie! WOW!!!! That looks like so much fun! When I lived in Asheville there was a glassblower who did demonstrations all the time- but we never got to participate! The bowl is lovely and the ornaments!!! How wonderful! Those will always have such special memories for you. Happy Holidays! :) calamity!kim

sunshine said...

i have wanted to do this for years but don't know of a glass foundry near me