Yesterday was a wet and grey inside day. We even got a nice display of cloud to cloud lightning.
Today we headed down to the city of Corning and the Corning Museum of Glass. They have a bunch of demonstrations about glass and glass blowing as well as well as some hands on activities, of which we did two. Of course there is a huge gift shop to browse.
First up was a demo on creating this vase.
Get a blob of glass from the furnace.
Start shaping it.
Whenever it started to cool off it had to go back in the oven for a short time.
He used a pendulum swing to lengthen it.
They use wet newspaper to smooth it out.
Adding the base.
Adding a ring of colour to the top of the vase.
There was a camera pointing through a window in the back of the oven.
Some final touches.
Smooth out the base where they snapped it off the pole.
And into the annealing oven to slowly cool off overnight.
Next we caught the end of a demo on making tiny glass sculptures.
All the demos had TV monitors to give you a close up view of what was going on.
Then the Glass Break Demo on the strengths of different types of glass.
He used a torch to heat to heat a ring around this bottle.
Then he touched some water (spit) to it and caused a smooth break.
They had a box lit with polarized light so that you could see the stress in the glass. He touched the torch to the side of the bottle.
Showing how much stress there is in an ordinary plastic CD case because they cool so quickly. If a normal piece of glass had that much stress it would probably explode at the slightest touch.
A piece of tempered glass.
Finally they broke some of the glass. The normal glass just shattered into a million pieces. The laminated glass broke but held together.
They broke the tempered glass with a pin like the hammers you can get to break your car windows to escape. It exploded but into non jagged pieces.
This display showed the effect of Low-E glass on heat loss.
An elliptical chamber where you could whisper to each other from opposite ends.
No explanation necessary.
This concave mirror really magnified my bald spot, that I can thankfully not see.
A giant telescope mirror blank.
After a quick lunch in their cafeteria we headed off to our 1:20 pm reservation for our first “Make Your Own Glass” session. This display showed the different projects that you could do.
Last night over the internet I had booked us both to make suncatchers. It was something we might actually use and hang in our solarium at home. The rest seemed like it would just get stuck somewhere and forgotten.
The problem was that making the suncatchers wasn’t terribly “exciting”. This morning I also booked the session to make the flower.
They also offer week long courses on glassblowing.
The make your own session are pretty popular although today there were open spots in all the classes except the later ones when they offer an discounted after 4 pm admission price.
Away we go.
To make them they give you a backing glass plate, bins of glass pieces to glue to it, a glass scorer and pliers to make the breaks. The session is 40 minutes long but by the time you are setup and told what to do we only had about 30. I did feel a bit rushed.
Guess which one was made by the non-artistic engineer,
Once you are done, they take them and put them in an oven. The glass melts together and the glue evaporates away. Then they have to be put in an annealing oven to cool overnight.
This means that you either have to come back and get them the next day or pay to have them shipped to you. The cost of this session was $20 a person. They said shipping inside the USA was around $18 an item and it would be more to Canada. Since our planned hike tomorrow is sort of near here I elected to make a long loop back and pick them up.
Onto the flower session. Since we didn’t need two at $29 a piece, I went in and Jennie was the photographer.
You first pick one colour for the stem and two colours for the flower.
You need a lot more protection for this session as you are near the hot glass.
Unfortunately, at my station, the work was done on the far side from Jennie.
They do all the dangerous stuff near the ovens and bring you the rod and glass to work on. First they get a blob for the stem and colour it.
Then I had to roll it to keep it straight while it cooled.
Next comes the flower blob and colour.
First you flatten it out.
Then start pulling out the petals.
In for a reheat.
A few more smaller pinches to add some texture.
Then you pull it away from the pole to give the flower a bowl shape.
To make the stem you let it droop down and then give it a twist. Here are some pics from someone facing towards us.
And the finished product. When it cools down it will be yellow and blue with a red stem.
Then into the annealing oven. Final pictures tomorrow.
Heading back to the main building, Jennie browsed the massive gift shop.
I went to watch another glass blowing demo. This was in a large auditorium. The tour busses had arrived.
There was even a Mandarin translation for one of the tours.
Another even longer than normal post but this was a really interesting and fun place. Another recommended destination.