Corin Anderson (magellanic) wrote,
Corin Anderson

Bay Area Glass Institute

I just got back from a 4-hour session at the Bay Area Glass Institute (BAGI). The session was studio (torchworking bench) rental time, not instruction. Since the intro glass class Melinda, Doug, and I took at the Crucible I've been wanting to get some lab time in, and it finally took a vacation day from work to do it.

The good: BAGI is near SJC and so is very close to my Mountain View apartment. It's easy to reach, to park, the people are nice and I was the only person using a torchworking station so I had lots of room. They had some tools, including a marble mold (which they had told me on the phone they didn't have - bonus!) and so I had everything I needed to work.

The bad: the torches are small and took forever to heat the 16mm solid rods of boro I brought. Working with only the 8mm rods was fine. There aren't a lot of tools so I should plan to acquire my own (marble mold paddle, tungsten pick, long tweezers, reamer, fingers). They have an annealer but (a) it wasn't on and (b) it was programmed for soft glass, not boro. They said they'd set it up for me if I really wanted it but I passed, it didn't seem worth it for what I was doing (I ended up making only four very small objects). If I really did want to use it I don't know how long it'd take to warm up first (likely a few hours).

The rest of the shop is what I expected: about the size of maybe four or five two-car garages. They're set up for torchwork, fusing, slumping, coldwork, and furnace glassblowing. They had a veritable garden of glass pumpkins on one of the shelves in the work area, getting ready for the Great Glass Pumpkin Patch show, presumably. There was a group of people (a class, then maybe just a lab?) making somethings in the furnace area. I didn't intrude to find out more.

Would I go back? Sure, probably. I plan to check out Public Glass in SF, too, as a point of comparison. I think perhaps I would go in just for a 2-hour session, rather than 4 hours at a time. I was about done after 3.5 hours, plus, 2 hours starting at 10a or 9a still lets me get in to work for the day -- no need to take a vacation day.

Oh, and, what did I actually make? 1. a gravity marble (a nice one at that, if I may say so). 2. a small swirl marble (clear and brilliant blue). 3. a twisted cane of rasta gold, snow white, and amazon night around a base of clear. This cane didn't work so well probably because the base never heated through and so the colored glass didn't condense into the base. At one point I was heating part of the base and cane and parts of colored glass shot off. I picked up one off my jeans, as it had landed there, before I even thought about that the glass was still 900F or so. Ouch. I have two small blisters on my finger and thumb tip to show for it. It stung for about 45 minutes but I'd forgotten about it by an hour or so later. 4. An emerald green twist cane (more success with heating the thick rod stock!). 5. an emerald green swirl marble (based on the cane) with amazon night dots. The green turned red near the surface, because I overworked the color. It makes for an interesting effect. The black dots look like mold. 8/. 6. A mushroom inside a paperweight. The mushroom is made from the rasta et al. cane and the paperweight was the 19mm stock and finished with aqua azul frit. 7. I flame cut the other two 19mm rods I had brought with me, so everything can fit in one medium sized plastic tub.

Oh, and, when I got back to my car, it was 100F outside. So, it was either a great day, or the wrong day, to melt glass inside. 8)
Tags: fire arts
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