Glass blowing experience

Saturday night we went and did our glass blowing and beer tasting class as a part of Nate's Christmas present this year. It was a blast! It was through Living Social Adventures (one of those Groupon style websites) at the FOCI MN Center for Glass Arts. When this came through my email as an offer, I knew that it was something Nate would be into, not only would we be tasting beer, but we'd get to make our very own pint glass!

We arrived about 20 minutes early and the last class was just wrapping up. We had a chance to walk around the studio, it is a neat place and they have a gallery with various glass pieces on display - pretty awesome stuff.

Others began to trickle in and we met another couple who were there for the same reason - the wife bought this as a Christmas gift for the husband. They were very nice people, about 10 years older than us and ironically, the husband used to live down the street from Nate's parents.

The Living Social people then introduced the instructors and explained the itinerary for the evening. Then we watched a demonstration and were broken into groups of four to work with an instructor to make our pint glasses. It was definitely hands on, though the instructors did do some of the work as there are steps involved that are very difficult for beginners. But we got to gather the glass on our rod, we got to work on shaping it, and we got to help blow the glass to help it expand into a larger size to make the pint glass.

Here is a picture of me helping to blow the glass - it expands almost like a hot, fragile balloon.

This is me twirling the glass to keep it from settling. Our instructor was going to get another piece of hot metal to help create the opening.

Here is Nate opening up the inside of the glass. Even for very advanced glass blowers this is a two person operation.

A little earlier in the process, here is Nate shaping the glass, you use very thick wet newspaper, almost like sandpaper, it protects your hand and you're able to give it a round shape.

It was really informative. The entire process for each person took a half hour to 45 minutes. But it was fun to watch others even when it wasn't your turn. Also, we got to pick two colors to melt into the glass and make it unique too. I chose blue and pink and Nate chose green and yellow. The final step was blow torching the bottom of the glass and stamping it with our initials.

Then they put it in a special kind of oven that cools the glass down at a slower temperature, to prevent breakage. Because of this we had to wait until Monday to go pick the glasses up.

After we finished, Great Waters Brewing Co. from St. Paul had a little informal beer tasting with four of their brews. They also gave away 8 growlers to be filled at their brewpub - we each won a growler! Not that we ever lack beer in our house, but it's still cool that we won!

We had a lot of fun and would be interested in even taking a beginner glass blowing class someday!

Here is the final result:

Mine is on the left and Nate's is on the right. Pretty neat huh? They're good sized and are completely safe to use for drinking out of.

I tell you though, I keep setting the bar higher and higher each year, I don't know what I will come up with to top this for his Christmas gift next year!


Gina said...

Looks like you had a ton of fun!! The glasses turned out so well!

Jes said...

I love your glasses! I'm glad you had such a good time and a good experience!