- Samantha Sweet
I’m excited to start offering glassblowing lessons at my studio in East Finchley, so if you’ve always wanted to learn how to create one-of-a-kind pieces with blown glass, now is the time to take the first steps.
My new furnace is designed to be very fuel efficient, only needing to be turned on in the morning to melt glass for the day rather than being on 24 hours a day 7 days a week like conventional studio glass furnaces. It is also a furnace, glory hole and pipe warmer combined. Anyone who has been watching 'Blown Away' will have come across the term glory hole - a chamber heated to about 1,200° Celsius which is used to reheat the glass during the blowing process. It allows us to fuse coloured glass to the clear glass we have gathered from the pot, reheat and mould it into something beautiful using traditional tools and our own breath. I've always found the potential of a pot of molten glass super exciting. Fluid, sparkling, and moving like honey, molten glass never fails to fascinate me.
Alongside our breath we use wooden blocks and paddles, metal jacks, tweezers and shears to shape the glass. One of the more suprising tools is newspaper. More specifically, wet newspaper. I fold up old newspapers, soak them in water and use them to mould the glass. Without being properly soaked the paper would burn and ash would stick to the hot glass. The water forms a layer of steam between the two for the glass to glide over, leaving a lovely clean surface that the light can shine through.
My favourite tool is invisible. It does however, requite constant consideration. Given the chance it will grab your creation and pull it towards the floor! I love the play between the fluidity of molten glass and gravity, harnessing it to shape the glass without breaking the natural flow of a form. We can also use centrifugal force to pull objects outwards just as
The studio is just 5 minutes walk from East Finchley tube station, we also have parking on the drive if coming by car is easier. It is accessible via 12 outdoor steps. As with the lampwork lessons, the glass needs to be annealed overnight to remove any stresses. If you would like to work with molten glass yourself, please see my classes page for booking or get in touch to arrange a session to suit you.