Summer Glassblowing Camp June 3-7 and June 17 – 21,

Intro to Glassblowing

Beat the Heat with Kiln-Forming Workshops and Classes

Glass – a state of mind or a state of matter?

gather, glassblowing

We get many questions about glass in the studio, so I thought we might provide some info to help you understand “Why Glass”!

For us, glass is a state of mind, but in reality, it is a state of matter. It gets created when molten material cools so rapidly that there is not enough time for a crystalline structure to form. In solids, atoms are arranged in ordered lattice-like structures. In liquids, atoms and molecules can move randomly. They flow. Atoms in solids are rigidly held in lattices. They cannot flow. Glass is called a rigid liquid. It behaves in both states.

When most people think of glass, they think of it as a human-made material. But glass forms in nature:
Volcanoes spew molten rock, which cools rapidly and is called obsidian. Lightning strikes desert or beach sands, forming brittle tubes of melted sand that form fulgurites. Meteors fly through the earth’s atmosphere and then impact the ground with intense heat, creating terrestrial debris, which cools quickly and is called tektites. Silicious skeletons of marine creatures (algae, sea sponges) are shed onto the ocean floor and form natural glass.

Glass is all around us. Think about it. What would our world be without glass?

  • It helps us control the temperature of our surroundings.
  • It aids our vision.
  • It facilitates communication through fiber optic cables.
  • It is used in packaging and tableware.
  • It helps express our identity in the form of art.
  • What does glass not do? Its applications are endless.

Most people think of glass as a solid. It’s fun to expose people to glass in its more liquid form. When we work with glass in the hot shop, it is kinetic. It flows, expands, contracts, and dances with us. Glass is beautiful in its clear state, where you can take advantage of its optical qualities. It is fascinating when it takes on color. Glass is a fantastic play material. You can make it into one form. If you don’t like it, you can remelt it and form it into something else.

Glass is paradoxical. It can last for thousands of years or be shattered in an instant.

Glass reflects the personalities of those who work it.

  • Michael’s joy is exploring his love for color and different forms in glass.
  • Patrick focuses on patterns and the repetition of elements, probably due to his strong musical background.
  • Glass is attractive to me as a scientist because it is process oriented. Once you become competent at the steps and how to make the primary forms, you can start recombining them and make the glass follow your lead. I see boundaries as something to go beyond and mimic geological concepts with glass like a kid with a chemistry set and no instruction manual. I try to use all my background and knowledge while exploiting all the resources at hand.

Without glass, how would we recognize ourselves? Its reflectivity allows us to see ourselves as we genuinely are. Or maybe not.

Why not come out to the studio and learn more about yourself? See where working with glass may lead you. Believe us. It’s worth it, and so are you. With glass, the exploration is endless.

sign off

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