Ever considered taking a class at Third Degree, but not quite sure what you would be getting into? This weekend our marketing coordinator Nick Dunne took the Glass Art Sampler class, and posted some great photos and videos to give you a first-hand perspective on what this class entails!
I would first like to say that I myself am not an artist. I am a major supporter of the arts; I volunteer, do some independent curation and promotion for my artist friends, and just love giong to art events in general. But I personally do not make art myself, so this was quite an eye-opening experience for me!
First, when we arrived, the students in the class were divided into small groups, and each group went into a different studio. My group started in the Flame Studio. Our instructor was Sarah. She started off, as with all other studios, with the safety precautions of working with hot glass.
Next, she showed us the basics of making a glass bead.
We even learned how to make different shapes for the beads. Sarah’s showing us how to make a square bead here:
After each bead, we placed them in the kiln for them to cool over the next couple days so they don’t crack and break. Next, my group moved into the Hotshop to make paperweights. We worked with Addison & Steve. After the all-too-important safety spiel, they started by collecting the clear molten glass from the furnace:
Next, the students get to pick their colors of “frit” for their paperweight. In this picture, Addison is working with our events coordinator Jessica to pick out her colors.
The frit is basically small granules of glass that you collect on the hot gob of clear glass before melting it down and smoothing it out inside the furnace. You have to keep rotating it though!
Side note: Frit is also used during wedding ceremonies to replace traditional sand ceremonies; it’s become a pretty big trend over the last year. Third Degree has seen a lot of beautiful pieces produced using the combined glass from a ceremony.
After taking it out of the furnace, we used tongs to twist and pull and manipulate the hot glass into some cool (er…rather extremely hot), swirly patterns:
Pull, twist, mold, and repeat.
Next, the instructors collected more clear glass to encase the colors, and the students began to shape their paperweights with a selection of tools:
Once the paperweights were cooled a little, we brought them over to another table, and the instructors applied just enough pressure to release the paperweight from the rod:
Last but not least, the instructors used a blowtorch on the bottom of the paperweight to liquefy it just enough for us to stamp our initials in the bottom:
We put them in the annealer to cool. It usually takes a couple days for them to cool down slowly so they don’t crack.
Side note: The girl pictured above is Aby, who surprised Rosie (pulling glass in the video above) with the sampler class for her birthday! Experiential gifts like classes are always the best, especially when you get to take away something you made yourself! Imagine how awesome a daytime date making glass around Valentine’s day would be…
Our final step was in the Kiln studio, where we worked with Doretha to make cold fused glass. Of the three studios at Third Degree, I was the least familiar with kilnworking, so I was greatly surprised how easy it can be and how limitless the possibilities were. As usual, our first step was to understand the safety precautions of working with cold, cut glass:
Cutting and arranging glass pieces was easily my favorite part of the whole day, even more than twisting and pulling hot molten glass in the hotshop.
After our pieces were assembled, we placed our tiles in the kiln. Here’s a glimpse of Rosie putting hers in:
I was astounded at the variety of creativity. I especially loved the homage to Peanuts.
If this has piqued your interest, check out the classes page to get signed up! Or give us a call at 314.367.4527.