|Eran warming up a glass rod in preparation to make a marble|
A couple days ago Eran Park, the owner of The Glass Park in Ft Wayne, IN let me to spend some time hanging out in his studio. Technically, I was doing this as a project for a college class I'm taking this semester. However, I thought maybe you, our readers, might like a peek inside a glass blowing studio.
Park teaches an intro class and it just so happens he was teaching a class to a couple who purchased the class through a Groupon offer. The class begins with a discussion about safety, including ventilation. And this hood above the bench is a thing of beauty. Not every studio I've been to has adequate ventilation.
|Ventilation hood covered in various stickers. Park's shop mate Alan working at the torch.|
|Park creating a marble during a class demo.|
|Park adds dots to the exterior of what will become a vortex marble.|
|Park shapes the marble in a graphite marble mold.|
|Marble being fire polished with a tiny torch with a super concentrated flame.|
He helps them get the torch fired up, assesses what they want to do, then assists them in getting there. The couple I observed taking the class made leaves to start with. They both made at least one pendant, possibly more. (I didn't photograph the students at all.)
It was clear the more time she spent at the torch, the more the wife was falling in love with melting glass in a flame. I think perhaps a new glass addict has been created... I asked Park how many students get that "twinkle" in their eyes when they first melt glass. He responded maybe 1-4%. And only maybe 10% of those end up back at the studio for more lessons or for torch time.
|The studio kiln that holds the day's work and student creations to be annealed overnight.|
Park not only makes his own art, and teaches classes, but he also rents out studio time. Alan is one of his shop mates, and is there on a fairly routine basis as he is selling all the work he makes and plans to do glasswork full time.
|Alan is Park's shop mate that took up glass blowing just over a year ago.|
Alan was there working during the entire class, so I would periodically go watch what he was doing and ask lots of questions....trying to avoid being too annoying.
|Alan melting in decorative detail.|
Both artists create gorgeous glass pendants and other functional art glass pieces.
|Alan blowing into the tube to enlarge and shape the molten part of the glass.|
When I first arrived at The Glass Park, I was immediately greeted by Blaze the studio dog. Eventually he curled up in this chair to sleep.
|Blaze, the studio dog.|
|Alan blowing glass.|
The studio itself shares a building with a barbershop on the south side of town, and is actually very large. The walls are covered in glass related magazine covers, posters, etc. There is also this large roll of paper for people to draw on.
|For random studio doodling|
And, in case they want to do an impromptu jam session, there's a drum set.
|You never know when people at The Glass Park may have a jam session. Instruments are kept there for that reason.|
There is also a piano and guitars. And yes, they get used. I asked.
|Wall art at the Glass Park includes guitars, which can be used for a jam session at any time.|