Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen

Glass: I blew it. Literally. So that's good then.

So yesterday I went and had my first glassblowing experience.

It had initially come with this immensely complicated plan, wherein timprov would come with me and take pictures if he saw opportunities for good ones, and markgritter would drive up and meet us when he was done with work, and we would all meet up with some other friends for dinner. None of that happened. It would not have worked in the slightest. timprov taking pictures would have been okay if he saw opportunities--I never know, part of the reason I enjoy his photography is that I don't try to dictate his eye--but the bits that involved trying to coordinate stuff after or me going places or eating things after--that would totally not have worked, so I'm glad it all fell through. Because I had basically enough Mris left to get home and decompress and...yeah. Focus adrenaline wow. Stuff. Stuff.

There is all kinds of stuff about glassblowing that is so not clear from observing it. The form of this thing was that the guy teaching me did a paperweight while telling me what he was doing at each step, and then I did one with him assisting me, reminding me if I'd forgotten anything, there to jump in and smack me if I started to do anything abjectly stupid, etc. (No smacking needed. But y'know.) And there were things that seemed like they would be clear from being four inches away that were not.

One of the things--he estimated that the furnace with the molten glass in it was at 2400 F (about 1300 for those of you playing along in the Celsius version of the home game) and the one we used to heat up the glass when it was cooling down was at 2000 F (more like 1100 C). And if you had asked me, I would have told you that those temperatures had differences in physical effects, in which things annealed or etc., but that in terms of human experience, they were roughly the same temperature, that is to say, Really Damn Hot.

And no. Seriously no. The one was Really Damn Hot But Copable. The other was Seriously Frightening Hot. Brace Yourself And Give Yourself A Pep Talk Hot. The difference between standing four inches away from the person who is dipping the metal rod into glass that is that kind of hot and being the person who is doing it really matters quite a bit, it turns out. My instructor, when he was doing the stage where he was doing stuff and telling me what, was overtly and vocally quite relieved to be dealing with a former physicist, so that he knew he could just say things like "angular momentum" and be fine, he didn't have to gauge my knowledge there. And I said, "Well, we'll see if I can actually put that into action," and he said, "But everybody has that problem. So now there's just one problem instead of two problems." Fair enough.

Do you know what tool you use to shape a glass paperweight into the pleasant roundness that it has? Folded over wet newspaper. And your hand. Without gloves. Just your hand. That part? That was my favorite part. That part was seriously awesome. I also liked the bit where I got to use shears and jacks and things to just mess with the glass I'd just colored, to make the swirly bit that would soon go in the middle. But the bit where you say, okay, now I will do this with my hand and a pad of newspaper, oop, better wet down the newspaper. And there are sparks flying onto your shirt because you are shaping molten glass with your hand and some wet newspaper. That was pretty cool.

One of the really hard things is that all of my safety instincts from years of vertigo say that anything even remotely dangerous should be pointed downwards. Molten glass flows. Molten glass is not any safer pointed downwards, and it's not good for the shape of it. So that's a thing I will have to see if I can cope with, or else...not, I guess. But it was a thing the instructor helped me with yesterday, and my paperweight--we'll see when I pick it up--it was still annealing when I left, had to anneal for many hours. But I think it turned out all right for a beginner piece.

I will not be doing this again soon. It took a lot out of me. I have stuff on the calendar for tomorrow, but if it was stuff for which I needed to do much other than sit under a blanket on the couch, it would be getting canceled. Last night when I was still letting the adrenaline wear off, I wrote that I thought it was mostly adrenaline really, not really energy use. And that was wildly optimistic. I am whumped. But. It was a thing I did, and I liked it, and I think I will do it again. Just not soon or often. It was never going to be soon or often. The question was whether it was going to be at all. I think maybe it will be at all. I think yes.

The mobility disability stuff my aunt mentioned is not a thing they apparently do often. I am now on their mailing list, so if they decide to do it again, I will jump at that chance. Otherwise I will have to figure out times when I can block out time and, more to the point, want to block out time, for just a little. And as I said: maybe not soon or often, but I think yes. They teach you to do amphorae, you see. Cones and bowls and cylinders and paperweights, all early on, but also in the early on things: amphorae. Hee. They would. If I was having not too much of dizzy days and gave them money and found enough energy and showed up. They would help me learn to make a glass amphora, and it would be mine that I made. Not this year. But some year. It would maybe be clear or maybe have some blue in it, I am not sure. But it would be my amphora that I dipped into the fiery furnace and made, like this ball will be my ball. And I cannot fully explain why that is a thing. Cones and cylinders are fine. But bowls and amphorae. Um. Well, we all have things we can't explain.

So take that, universe.
Tags: molten glass, stupid vertigo
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