Day 62: Glass (Art, Not Optics)

Monday; November 2nd, 2015

Figure A: Glass Bauble

This post comes to you fairly late because last week was my first experience of having a set of bigger coding assignments due in about 3 years. Phew. I’d forgotten how exhausting bug hunting can be. More than typical this week, I am thankful for the experience I’ve had working on specifying, designing, and executing a planned solution response to a posed problem.

But that’s seriously a whole another topic. First, we need to talk about the magnificent experience that is the National Glass Centre’s One-to-One Glass Blowing Experience.

Like most things that breathe and feel, I enjoy beauty. Before I was a tiny-sized nerd, I was a tiny-sized artist. I (oh-so uniquely and profoundly) think the point of doing things to generate more beauty in this world. Beauty through a visual art or an elegant mathematical solution or the way someone holds a baby is all equally worthy of pursuit.

Glass blowing is a new and a expensive hobby. Having experienced being able to make my own pieces and take them home, I’m ready to finally write a little review of this experience.

I found my way to the National Glass Centre by walking along the River Wear. When you step into the National Glass Center from the waterfront entrance, you are stepping into a space that was designed with understanding that beauty evokes something deep, slim, worthy, and quivering in the space under your sternum. Even with the fog, ,grey, and rain outside, the massive all-glass walls around the gift shop and the brasserie lit the all-white interior without a hint of gloom.

The desk where you can book an appointment is actually upstairs relative to the gift shop. I selected a One-to-one halfday option. When I last checked in September of 2015, the half day option wasn’t listed on the site. I was ready to devote a whole day to this and drop quite a large chunk of cash, but the half day option ended up being more financially responsible as a student. Someone applaud me for that; I can’t believe I chose to shorten my time allowed with the glass.

The halfday option allowed me ample time to co-produce 7 pieces of glass art: 2 paperweights, 2 glass apples, 2 ornaments/baubles, and a cup. The instructor made the first of each paired set while I got to make the second half of the pairs.

Because the halfday option is shorter, I was able to load colored glass onto each of the creations. According to my instructor, Dave, ,they typically only show color loading during the second day.

Figure B: I feel like Ryuuk

The whole experience was well guided and non-intimidating. This comes from a student who very spectacularly fucked up making this apple twice and had panicked and then had to cut off the stem of the apple twice. The second time, it wound up looking more like an apple than we’d expected given the need to correct my shoddy work from before.

A meta moment:

As time goes on, having this blog exist feels more and more surreal to me. When something feels surreal, it usually means I should probably stop doing it how I was and change up my system.

This is to say, this blog feels surreal. I’ve been worrying about security more and more lately–quite fittingly might I add as I’m about to start a course in the subject. Maybe at the end of that class, this will all become a frozen archive. I promise not to leave without saying something though.

In the meantime, I take the following as anti-motivational.

“Everybody is a little bit of an exhibitionist and wants people to like them and know that people like them.” — MC, my first ever college roommate, on my feeling weird about writing a blog at all.

She says a  lot of things that are very true. A woise woman.


Day 62: Glass (Art, Not Optics)

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