Friday, 1 May 2015

Glass Blowing with Bath Aqua Glass (#BEDM Day 1)

Back in March me and Andrew joined a group of people from our workplace to have a go at blowing our own glass baubles (I was so tempted to write 'trumpets' there). Bath Aqua Glass as a company was started almost 20 years ago but glassblowing itself has been around for about 2000 years and the technique hasn't changed much since then.

Bath Aqua Glass
 
Bath Aqua Glass

Bath Aqua Glass stained glass window

Bath Aqua Glass

Bath Aqua Glass

Bath Aqua Glass
 

Bath Aqua Glass have a main shop right next to the Abbey in the centre of town but the workshop is a little walk away on Walcot Street. At set times during the day (and for a small fee) you can watch the glass production or see a glassblowing demonstration and for £12.50 you can blow your own and take it home.

Bath Aqua Glass Glassblowing


We went along on a Saturday afternoon where we were shown into the viewing area of the workshop and listened to a short interactive talk all about how it's done. There was plenty of time to ask questions during the demonstration and it was quite fascinating to see the glass being moulded and shaped in front of you.

Bath Aqua Glass Glassblowing

 
Then came the blowing bit! All the glass had copper oxide added to it to produce the traditional blue colour and we had to choose which colour or colours we wanted added as a pattern. Firstly they took a blowpipe and warmed it, then took a ball of molten glass from the crucible (basically the liquid glass in the furnace) and because the blowpipe is already warmed, the molten glass sticks to it.

Bath Aqua Glass Glassblowing


Then the blob of glass was rolled in coloured powder crystal thingies and manipulated into the beginnings of a ball. Next up was our bit, blowing into the pipe whilst the glassblower was turning it at the same time so it formed a nice round inflated bauble shape.

Bath Aqua Glass Glassblowing

Bath Aqua Glass Glassblowing


Then it was passed to another crafty glassblower to chop the bauble from the pipe, add a spot of hot glass to the top to make into a loop, use a blowtorch to cement the bond between the loop and the bauble and then pop it in another furnace to cool down in a controlled way (so it wouldn't shatter). So quite a complicated process! 

Bath Aqua Glass Glassblowing

Bath Aqua Glass Glassblowing


I went with a purple colour and Andrew plumped for red - and here's the finished products...

Bath Aqua Glass Glassblowing  
Bath Aqua Glass Glassblowing


We're planning on hanging on them on the Christmas tree!
 
 
(This post is day 1 of Rosalilium's Blog Every Day in May challenge - after sticking to the topics for the last couple of years, this year I'm going off piste!)

5 comments:

  1. I love that shop but try not to go in there because I will end up spending too much money. The glass blowing looks like great fun.

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  2. This looks a fascinating experience!!! Your baubles are beautiful!! Ha I'm doing BEDM as well and I'm going to try to do the topics but maybe not for every day.x

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  3. I've always wanted to have a go at glass blowing and this looks so much fun! The baubles are beautiful, well done!

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  4. the bf's sister did glass blowing at university... all her vases came out somewhat penis shaped in the end ;)

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Thank you very much for all your lovely comments; I do have every intention of replying but sometimes life with a baby gets in the way...

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