We arrived on a beautiful Sunday morning at The Furnace, a glassworks to make our glass pumpkins. Everybody was excited and we had several people who had come to the last AIGA glassblowing event where we made flowers. We had twelve people total and the event was so popular it sold out quickly!
The two instructors, Taylor and Sam, completed a demo of how to make the glass pumpkin. They, of course, made it look so easy and flawless so we applauded, excited to make our own. They stressed safety since everything in the glass shop is extremely hot. Then people started the lesson by dividing half of the people to blow glass with Taylor and the other half Sam.
To blow a glass pumpkin, you first gather glass onto the end of the blowpipe from the furnace which is around 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit! Next, you roll it in the color of your choice (cobalt blue or bright orange). Afterwards, you sit at the bench and shape it with a wooden round block so it is a nice sphere shape. Then you blow your bubble! After that, you get the ridges of the pumpkin by putting the piece into a concrete mold that has ridges in it and blowing.
In between all these steps, you constantly heat the piece back up in equipment called the glory hole. Next, you put in a jack line with the tools called the jacks where you will break the piece off the pipe. Then you blow to make the pumpkin nice and round. Not too much though or you will lose the ridges! Then you flatten the bottom with a wooden paddle so your piece will sit flat. Then you take it to the table where you break it off. Then very quickly you gather more glass on a punty which is a long metal pipe. You roll it in the green color for the pumpkin’s stem. You put it in the mold to give it ridges. Then you put it on top of the pumpkin and use the jacks to cut off how much you want. Then you take tweezers and twist to get loops into the stem and stick it to the piece.
Afterwards, you put on fire gloves and move it to the annealer where it will sit around 900 degrees. At night, the annealer is turned off so it cools very slowly so the glass doesn’t change temperature too quickly and crack. Then you come back to the studio to pick up your work of art!
Everybody was excited to make their glass pumpkins! Because it is so involved with so many steps, the instructors completed some steps for us and assisted along the way. It was extremely fun and AIGA can’t wait to continue partnering with The Furnace for future glassblowing events!