Glass is a magical tool for all ages!

Luscinda came into the shop with her mother, who was working on a project with one of our Salem College interns; a flurry of people around, and she sat at the table, riveted. She was transfixed on Sarah and, honestly, I have no idea what happened that day, who made what. But I remember this little girl, just a bit younger than my own two boys, and I could tell she saw the magic.

My Trip to The Olio, by Luscinda, age 7

I went on a really cool field trip in January: my trip was to The Olio art gallery. This is a place where artist blow and sell art glass. The artist had three big furnaces they had to light to 2000 degrees—that is very hot! From one of the furnaces she took out melted glass on a blow stick which had warmed in another furnace. She then stuck the melted glass into a third furnace, and melted it even more. Next she blew air into the pipe and started shaping the glass with a metal cup. Then she stuck it back into the second furnace. When she pulled it out it was shaped like an upside down triangle. Then the artist attached a rubber hose into the end of the blow pipe. She blew into the hose while the glass was in the furnace. Because of the blowing, the glass turned into ta bigger triangle. Then an assistant took a new pole and gathered more glass from the first furnace. The assistant stuck her pole onto the glass of the artist. Then the artist banged on her blow pipe and pushed on the edges of the triangular shaped glass until it came off and onto the assistants pole. Then the assistant put the glass back into the furnace. Next the artist started shaping the glass to look like a flower, heated it and trimmed its edges. After one final heating she broke the glass off the blow pipe, and while wearing thick gloves placed it in the cooler. When cooled the orange looking glass turns to its rightful color. In this case it was solid pink glass with blue sparkles. The end.

Important facts about glass blowing:

1) You can’t stop rolling the blow pipe because the glass is liquid and will fall off.

2) Glass is always orange when hot.

3) Glass is mainly made from melted sand!

4) To add color, you roll the melted clear glass into broken colored glass, then heat it.

5) You must always wear special glasses to protect your eyes from the brightness and heat.

6) The artist must always work on the base of the art first. She works on the top second once it is transferred to a second pole.

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