Learning the Art of Glass Blowing with Craft Contemporary & KT Glassworks

I’m not the craftiest person but I’m fascinated with learning how things are made. Whether it’s watching demos, taking tours or hands on classes I want to do it all. A few months back I learned that Craft Contemporary (formerly Craft & Folk Art Museum) offered glassblowing classes and I knew I had to give one a try. I signed up and a few weeks ago I headed to KT Glassworks to learn the art of glassblowing.

Like I said, I’m not the craftiest person so I must admit I was pretty nervous heading into the class. Have you ever gone to a class thinking everyone was a beginner only to find you were the only one? I was having flashbacks of a college sign language class where I was was way out of my element. Luckily, that wasn’t the case here. Everyone was a beginner like me and our instructor, Kazuki, and his assistants, David and Emily, were so kind and patient I was immediately put at ease.

KT Glassworks is both a place of instruction and a working glass studio from which beautiful works of art are produced.  Our class began with a tour where we were introduced to all the equipment that goes into glasswork and I learned it’s much more detailed that I ever imagined. We then watched a demonstration of the projects we’d be working on – a paperweight and bowl (or alternate bud vase).

I was a bit overwhelmed but excited to try my hand at glass production. We started with the paperweight and I had fun picking out the colors I wanted to use.

Before I knew it I was in front of a very hot furnace, pole in hand, creating my very own work of art. It was thrilling! We all took turns creating our projects and it was fascinating to see how everyone’s turned out – there were so many beautiful color variations!

Soon it was time to start the second project, the bowl, where we would actually be putting our lung power to work by blowing glass. More complex than the paperweight it requires a lot of collaborative effort to produce. Luckily, our instructors were with us every step of the way and everyone produced beautiful bowls and bud vases.

Because our items needed to cool for an extended period of time we couldn’t take them home with us that day. A couple of weeks later I headed to Craft Contemporary to pick up my finished pieces.

Craft Contemporary is located in the heart of the Miracle Mile and features changing exhibitions of work by contemporary artists and designers. Currently on display is Beatriz Cortez: Trinidad / Joy Station and Focus Iran 3.

I was particularly interested in the latter as it offers a fascinating glimpse into a society that is largely unknown to the western audience.

On my way out I grabbed my glass pieces and, I must admit, I’m pretty darn happy about how they turned out. Sure, my paperweight’s a bit wonky and my bowl’s a bit uneven but I’m impressed with the results of my very first attempt at glass blowing. I know I’ll long treasure them.

I don’t expect to take the glass world by storm but I had a fantastic time learning the art of glass blowing. It’s a complex, fascinating art form and I’m glad I got to peek behind the curtain and learn just what goes into it. Craft Contemporary regularly offers these class so keep an eye on this page to see when the next one comes around.

 

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