Monday, October 26, 2015

Glass Blowing

As our girls have gotten older, they have become involved in other extracurricular activities that demand a greater amount of their time than has been required in past years.  As we prepared for this year, we discovered some changes needed to be made to our schedule to retain the membership of our co-leaders and girls.  Instead of meeting twice a month as we have in previous years, we decided to schedule one activity a month this year.  These events will generally occur outside our typical meeting space.  Our sights were set on glassblowing in October.
Last week, our troop spent some time at Neusole Glassworks in Cincinnati.  We were scheduled for a two-hour hands-on demonstration.  Various classes and events are offered at the studio each month, and participants are required to be at least five years old.  Private hands-on demonstrations may be scheduled for groups of five or more participants.  We decided on the $15 (+ tax) hands-on demonstration that allowed each participant to make a flower.

It was quite easy to schedule a date and time with Neusole Glassworks, but it should be noted that I contacted them more than a month in advance.  I was able to speak with someone over the phone each time I called, and they corresponded via email rather quickly regarding questions I had about our appointment. I was given the option to pay in advance or upon our arrival.  They sent me an email with a link to their medical liability waivers so the families could sign the waiver prior to our event.  They also included a list of instructions to consider before the event:
  • wear 100% cotton and jeans (no spandex, polyester)
  • since it is really hot in the studio, a t-shirt is recommended
  • shorts or capris must be at least knee-length
  • wear gym shoes
  • long hair must be pulled back

When we arrived at Neusole Glassworks, we were greeted by Josh, one of the studio artists.  After collecting the liability waivers, we headed to the back of the studio where we met another artist named Josh.  As they described the process and tools they were using, they demonstrated the art of glassblowing by making a pumpkin.

We were given specific instructions to prevent being burned during the process.  I will refrain from describing the steps in the process--this is an art that simply need to be experienced.  These pictures have been included so readers can gain an appreciation of the experience and can formulate expectations of the visit.  

We were amazed to learn the temperature of the glass reaches 2000 degrees.  They are not kidding when they tell you the back room is hot!  Finished pieces are put in a "cool" oven that sits around 900 degrees.  This allows the temperature of the glass to decrease slowly, about 80 degrees every hour, to avoid cracking.  For this reason, finished pieces are available a week after they are made.  

While our event was scheduled for two hours, we were finished in about an hour.  Eleven participants had the opportunity to make a flower.  Since we had extra time before the girls were expected to be dropped off at home, we treated them to some ice cream.  What a sweet end to a great evening!

When I arrived at the studio to pick up our art, the flowers were labeled and individually wrapped in newspaper.  I didn't have to wait long at all as someone retrieved the flowers for me.  They even included the flower made during the demonstration!  These flowers are so beautiful.  So unique.  Just like the girls who made them!  

Many of our girls had enjoyed the evening so much, they grabbed handouts listing class descriptions and pricing in the hopes they could return with their families.  I would definitely return to the studio for another hands-on demonstration, and I would even be interested in registering for a class.  The hands-on demonstration makes for the perfect team-building event, an interesting activity for a birthday party, and a fun holiday party for coworkers, family, and friends.

Next month we are heading to Drake Planetarium where our Brownies will earn the Inventor and Home Scientist badges.  Hope you will check back soon!  Thank you for reading.

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