Glass has been a major interest and source of delight for me as long as I can remember. When I was a child, my parents took me to antiques shops which were often located in homes back in the 1930s and 1940s. When visiting or traveling via small towns (there were no interstate or toll highways to bypass communities in those days) we would cruise through neighborhoods looking for window signs which read: ANTIQUES.
Some children might have been bored to distraction by such a pastime, but I was not “some children”. I can’t even begin to express the joy I experienced when touring these home shops. My hands were well-trained to remain with fingers interlocked behind my back, so there would be no temptation to touch anything. In this rather uncomfortable position, I would quietly inspect every shelf within reach of my eyes, and every table-top arrangement of gorgeous Victorian and Art Nouveau glassware.
My parents were collectors of American glassware—especially abundant due to the soils of states such as Ohio, West Virginia, and parts of Pennsylvania and Indiana, and often created by skilled immigrants from Eastern Europe where glass blowing and molding were time-honored arts. Thus, in the manner of individuals with a happy childhood, I grew up to continue pursuing that hobby which my parents enjoyed so much. FENTON, NORTHWOOD, AND HEISEY are practically household words for me!
Given this background, my recent weekend in Toledo was memorable. Joe and I went with our son, Eric, and his wife, Cheri, to visit their daughter, (obviously our granddaughter) Nicole, and her husband, Travis. Along with being together, the ultimate highlight of this weekend was attending Nicole’s Christmas concert with the Toledo Masterworks Chorale.
But a runner-up to Nicole’s concert, was the fun of being involved in MAKING GLASS! The Toledo Glass Museum offers ongoing workshops, in which participants make different glass items around the year: roses, pumpkins, and whatever. Since my workshop was near Christmas, I made an icicle.
Here are some photos of stages in the exciting process of making a glass object. I let the workshop expert do the 5000 degree oven phases—and I just did the easy stuff: rolling the molten glob and shaping it into a rectangle on a metal table, and crimping my icicle with a pincer-type tool to form spirals while the teacher pulled the substance up at the top.
After a glass item is formed, it must cool down very slowly in an insulated container over a period of 2 or 3 days—depending on size. Since we returned to Wisconsin the next day, Nicole picked up my icicle and brought it to me at Christmas. And here it is! ↓
Indeed, there are some instances where a picture is worth a thousand words!
Margaret L. Been, ©2013