Intro: How to Grow a GLASS Flower
When you enter this glass blowing studio you will be entranced by the things that appear out of a blob of molten glass. It can be a salmon, a horse's head or a flower. In this instructable a glass maker and I will walk you through the blossoming of a flower out of a blob of glass.
Luann of Lumel Studios will take you through the steps to a blossom in 15 minutes or less. I was able to produce a flower the first time that I tried. You will see my efforts at the end of the instructable. The one shown was produced as you will see in the following steps.
If you would like to try doing some work with glass, check to see if there is a glass studio in your community or in one nearby. It is work a drive or a weekend excursion. Phone to check that they take students etc.
If you are travelling on holiday, check out areas where you are as there might be a studio near you.
Step 1: Enter a World of Glass Magic
When you step through the large doors at the front of the shop, you will see an overwhelming array of glass objects. You will also see blast furnaces, tools and benches. You are best advised to wear a pure cotton long sleeve shirt to protect your arms from the heat.
Step 2: Gathering the Glass
The first picture is of the furnace that contains the molten glass.
The second picture is the glory hole, that heats the punty. Spare unused punties are on a rack in front of the glory hole to keep them warm and ready to go.
In the third picture you will see the punty being heated hot enough to gather a blob of molten glass.
When the punty is warm enough it is immersed into the molten glass and rotated to gather an initial amount of glass.
Step 3: Choosing Your Flower's Colour
In the first picture you will see a range of colours that are available to create a design in the glass.
The molten glass is dipped into the first colour and then the glass is reheated before returning for a second colour, this time red. The punty is pushed into the colour creating the flattened shape in the last picture.
Step 4: Growing a Glass Flower
In the first picture you will see the bench on which the glass maker will sit and work with the glass.
In the second picture the glass is being reheated in order for it to be hot enough to manipulate it.
In the third and following pictures you will see the glass maker seated at the bench and ready to create a flower.
Step 5: Cutting and Cooling the Flower
In the first picture you will see the area where the flower will be removed from the "stem".
the second picture shows the annealing oven where the flower will rest for many hours while it cools down under controlled conditions.
The third picture shows the flower still on the "stem" but ready to fall off in an instant. Because the flower was scored at a particular place, all the maker has to do is to tap the stem and the blossom will fall into the bed of heat proof graphite materials.
The maker immediately after the blossom has fallen from the "stem", turns and puts the punty into the barrel where it and the glass remaining on it will cool down to be used again in the future.
Now the blossom will be set upside down by using tongs
The ranger torch will then be used to soften any sharp edges.
Immediately after that is done, the blossom is put in the annealing oven.
Step 6: My First Flower
Here is my first effort.