I have come to find that I really love teaching people about glassblowing. One of my favorite ways has come to be through my Arts and Sciences projects. Showing my work gives me the opportunity to get a little more in depth with my visitors about the history and techniques involved with furnace worked glass.
It seems to be a mystery to people at times, and rightly so. It can be a mystery to me as well! You begin with a molten, 2000 degree material that just wants to drop right onto the floor and within a minute it’s stiff and unmoving. But, with patience and practice, you can learn how this strange material works and manipulate it into to the most interesting and beautiful things.
My most recent project display, The Learning of a 16th Century Dutch German Beaker, was at the Keeper of the Central Flame Competition. It shows the entire learning process of the cup that I chose, with four new elements that I had never done before. My display shows my first failures (some of which are reduced to shards) to a completed vessel with four measurements all within 1-1.5 mm of the extant example.
I was a bit nervous since I have only done one competition before this and I’m generally not very good with public speaking. I think the most daunting part of it though is the documentation process! There are so many differing opinions on how to present it, that it can be difficult to decide where to start. As confusing as it can be, I find myself really getting into the process. Since my first foray into the world of Sca documentation I feel that I have a come a long way, although the climb is no where near complete, let me assure you!
I had just a good a time as I could have hoped for! I saw some truly great works of skill and artistry, witnessed a couple of rather wonderful moments in court, and spent the whole day talking about one of my favorite topics and making new friends. I received some very useful feedback from my judges, and am looking forward to continuing with my project, making it as good as I know it can be. It is technically a competed project, but it is, after all, a “work in progress” as I can still improve in each of the techniques that I learned when creating other vessels. There are still some tweaks needed to really make my documentation shine as well, but I’m on my way!
As a bonus for pushing myself a little more out of my comfort zone, and all of the sweat that has gone into my project thus far, I won 1st place in my category. You can’t ask for more than that cherry on top of a lovely day.