Make Your Own Glass Holiday Ornament

Handblown glass ornaments
Finished glass ornaments
After living in this area for over 6 years, I'm still discovering the cool artistic opportunities we have here. In Norfolk, the Chrysler Museum opened The Glass Studio a year ago. It's a working studio that hosts daily glass making demonstrations, visiting artists, and classes and workshops.

Heating glass to make glass ornaments
Re-heating the glass
My daughters recently took a class to make glass ornaments. With the help of the instructors, they heated up a glob of melted glass (that's the technical term), dabbed colored glass onto it, re-melted the glass, and blew through a tube attached to the blowpipe. The instructors gave advice, turned the blowpipe to make swirls and other effects, and worked the glass while the kids blew into the tube.

Making a blown glass ornament
Blowing into a tube as the instructor works
It was soon clear that creating glass is both an art and a science. Both girls ended up redoing their ornaments when slight miscalculations caused damage. For one, the instructor made the connection between the ornament and the blowpipe too well, and the slightest vibration caused the ornament to fall off and shatter. For another, the instructor held out the ornament for me to photograph and the extra seconds cooled it down too much, causing it to blemish.

I've been fascinated with glass blowing ever since my family used to visit a glass factory outside of Caracas, Venezuela, the only Murano glass factory outside of Italy. So I was thrilled when the glass studio opened. I haven't had a chance to take classes there yet, but it's on my to do list.

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