Friday, June 26, 2009

A Step forward.

When I started to blowing glass I kind of always figured that I would either one day get tired of it or as my Uncle Chuck says "Pour the Kool-Aid to it".

As it happens it seems that I have done just that over the years. When I started it was a hobby that produced things that only a mother could love. Alas, I was hooked and the glow of the furnace with moten glass attracted me like a moth to a flame. It was like playing with fire, lava, and time all at once. Everything in glass is really about timing, control, dexterity, and your ability to deal with heat. Maybe that is what drew me in. Maybe it was just being able to play with fire and molten glass. Either way the nexus of those things was like a force I could not pull myself away from.

Flash forward 2 years of every Wed. night rental slots. I could make a cup, bowl, and they where wonky but cool in their own right. Paperweights became second nature and not a problem. I was left wanting more, one night a week was not going to cut it. I felt like everything I learned in the hour and 1/2 vanished by the time I made it back the next week. I had hit a wall. I could not continue on this path without making a change, doing it more, making more, seeing more. MORE!

I started to plan. I started to horde. I started to save. Then I started to buy. Opening up your own shop would take considerable amounts of money. In fact I had the sum pegged at around 12k for a very small limited shop.

Note:It turn into quite a bit more and I will not even start to guess the number of man hours.

I made lists of everything I needed and started to look on ebay, Craigslist, newspapers, glass boards, and pretty much talked about it to everyone non-stop.

After anouther year I had collected a really good start. I had my full set of the hand tools that you use at the bench. I had purchased shaping blocks and stored them in water in the back yard. I had picked up a lot of the building blocks to build the equipment. I was only 20% of the way there. I still did not even have half a shop, but I had started.

Next up was the hard part:

Build a shed for all the stuff in the garage. Done! Knock out the wall on the west side of the garage and build out the shop. Done! Get all the electrical run(could have purchase a KIA Sophie for what this cost lone...I should have been an electrician) and pay it off. Done! Set up the Furnace, set up the Glory Hole(reheat chamber), set up the annealer, order glass to melt, build a bench, marver, and cart for the shop. More stuff, more things, it is never ending but MiniMolli pushed me harder as I got closer.

Then on the Second Annual Pumpkin Patch Party at the house we fired that baby up! I had my own shop...that was much to party over and party we did.

From that point on it was magic time. I could blow glass any time I wanted. It was my shop. It was my time. It was my problem.... equipment problems that is. Learning how to rebuild everything I had because it breaks. Over and over again. Learning to do things without a partner in the shop. Solo is harder than it looks but just as rewarding. Skills improved at a really fast pace once I could do it 3 and 4 times a week. I was in heaven.

2 years after I built my own shop I started to take some chances. This leads to now.

Today I got news that I was picked to be in the Gulf Coast Arts Festival as a glass artist.

I know this is not a big deal to a lot of people that make a living doing this. This to me is anouther stepping stone. Something when you started out you marked on your list way way up toward the top of things you strive for. Goal reached and I feel like something has been realized.

So now it all starts over again. I need to get crack'n and get ready for the event along with the 3rd Annual Pumpkin Patch Party a month before it. I am excited and stressed all at the same time but would not have it any other way. I am smiling, becasue I need to make a new goal for my glass progress.

Today I no longer feel like I have a hobby. It is now progressed past that and it feels good...really good. I might have to change the name of the blog to something else because I think today...I am not new anymore.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Furnace problems!

Man I am getting tired of fixing this furnace.

Second set of elements.

Second set of DP connections.

Strange problems everywhere. I just need to really rip this thing apart and rebuild it. Fuses, wires, everything.

Life is really busy right now at work with our current load and project time lines so I really have not blown glass for about 2 months now with any kind of regularity. I am just short of renting a block of time at the Belmont to get my skills back in shape before I do the rebuild.

Maybe I will take this time to really just rip it apart and rebuild it just how I want it. More insulation, better lid....hum....not sure.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Drive By post.

Furnace is back on.

Glass will be made.

Time is hard to come by.

Soon, pictures will come.