Okay this really was like the coolest, most amazing field trip that I (and I have been on some in my lifetime) have ever been on. I ended up taking over 80 pictures during it. I of course tried to find the best and share them here. I think I have a pretty good selection. We went to Infinity Art Glass in Benton KS. We were given a tour of the workshop and studio, then were given the treat of watching the artist work on a piece. He gave us so much more. He not only showed us how he makes a piece but also showed us actual blown glass (any hand craft glass is considered blown glass, even when there is no actual "blowing" involved in the process), and how molten glass looks right out of the molten glass furnace (I know this isn't the actual name of the the apparatus but I come to a blank when I try to remember what he called actually called it). I would recommend visiting this type of business, especially if you can see the artist at work. I must admit that this gentle man was very engaging with the children and kept their interest through out the whole presentation (he even included some humor), you could tell he was a dad and had shown several children his craft. He was more than willing to answer any question the children had, even silly ones.
Lil' Man standing in front of some of the pieces in the studio, wish I
had tons of money to buy some of these beautiful pieces.
Starting with molten glass
Rolling in some amber colored glass (he first rolled it in white glass, then heated it).
He did this process 3 times, then rolled the top half again another 3 times.
Putting the hot glass into a cone form, to help give it a little more shape
Rolling it on a spiky plate, which will in the end give the glass bubbles in it.
This process will give the glass uniform bubbles.
We learned that a baking soda/water solution will give the glass non-uniform bubbles.
See the waffle pattern in the glass, this is from the spiky plate.
Working the glass some more (he has to constantly keep moving and working the glass,
or it will have fallen off of the rod).
More molten glass added, you can still see the waffle pattern.
This wooden bowl, is called a "block".
He uses it to help him start to shape the glass into the shape he desires.
It is kept wet in a bucket of water, if not the glass would eventually burn it
and the ash would get into the glass and discolor it.
Some "free form" shaping.
This was the starting point of the final shape.
Torching the glass which helps to keep it at a workable temperature
This is what it looked like just before he started swinging it
to mold the glass into it's final desired shape
Swinging it into the final shape.
He started standing on the floor and then when it grew to long
and was at risk of hitting the floor, he moved to the platform.
Heating the glass to work it a little more before achieving it's final shape
First, let me appologize for the blurriness of the photo,
had to take the picture over little heads popping up.
Final shape (this is 1 piece (he made the first piece of the set for the 1st half of our group,
we had to divide up into 2 groups)of a 3 piece set that he calls "Transparent Embrace")
Showing the kids what molten glass looks like right out of the furance
I think this looks like a big dribble of honey.
Molten glass as it the heat lessens (it starts out at about 2000 degrees)
and works toward becoming room temp
Demostrating some actual glass blowing
Final product from the glass blowing demonstration
Showing the kids how pliable and fragile the blown glass actually is.