January 30, 2011

Glass Blowing with Grandpa! Happy 70th Birthday!

I wanted to get my dad something different for his birthday. Something he would remember and everyone could participate in. A family trip would be a disaster and his passion, golf, was off limits to the rest of us. Well...I decided to take a gamble and try something “artsy / craftsy.”

Knowing that Kalamazoo has an established art community, I figured there must be a glass blowing shop. I Googled “Kalamazoo glass blowing...” Lo and behold, I was right! The West Michigan Glass Arts Center was right down town in Kalamazoo and they did private classes. Perfect for a family gift to Grandpa!

First, we started out with important safety instructions. Then we moved on to the “Interactive Vase” where the master creates a vase of our choosing and everyone helps decorate it. A nice start to the day.


Grandpa is rolling his molten glass into bits of colored glass. Next he is going to mush it onto the vase with the help of two master glass blowers.


Once you get the ornament on to the vase you can cut and shape it as you please. It happens to be a green vase, but when it is hot, the colors are hard to see. Actually, you just have to trust that it is going to turn out all right! Take a leap!


Adam took a nip and a tuck out of his contribution...


Alex and her turn...


The rest of us mesmerized...


Austin’s turn to roll in some color...


Blowing and shaping takes a lot of skill. So, the master handles the tough part! Can you see the lip of the vase glowing? That stuff is hot!


The next part of the fun was the paper weight. This required a little planning on the color you were going to mix. There were all sorts of color to choose from...


...However, “less is more.”


Austin stoked up another glob of glass for his paper weight...


I loved watching everyone enjoy themselves...what a day...


Adam did his part...with a little supervision from the master.


Not quite like barbecue, but Grandpa got the hang of things pretty quickly.


Grandma is not into barbecue. She is all about “slow cooking.” So, we had a little mishap. Kind of cool though. She is always getting creative.


I think she just wanted to see how awesome it would look slithering on the ground!


Those tongs get mighty hot. The ambient heat from the glass will burn you...


...but it is really fun!


Grandpa immersed in shaping his paperweight. You have to make a groove so that we can file it off later.


After you break it off the stick, you have to smooth out the bottom...


...and flatten it so that it will not roll off your papers!

They had to sit in an oven for 24 hours before we could pick them up...

Below are the fruits of our labor...I still have to find a photo for my paperweight...

Austin...


Alexandria...


Adam...


Amanda...

Grandma...


Grandpa...


The Wills vase!


Happy 70th birthday Grandpa!

5 Comments:

Blogger Doug Wills said...

Thanks Doug, it was the most unique birthday present I have ever received.

Grampa

January 30, 2011  
Blogger Alexandria said...

Stunning pictures! I love how you allowed the sunlight to shine through the paperweights!

February 05, 2011  
Anonymous Lyra said...

Wonderful! The talented Wills klan strikes again! Wish I could have joined in the fun...

February 05, 2011  
Blogger Jeffrey said...

That is just freaking great. What a clever idea.

February 09, 2011  
Blogger Brianyun said...

Thanks for posting interesthing^^

September 04, 2011  

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