Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Flowers, a Man Named Vicente, and a REALLY Hot Oven

Almost two years ago, my awesome, thoughtful husband gave me a Christmas gift.  It was a gift certificate to make some glass flowers at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah .  Honestly, I was a little skeptical.  I love making things with my hands as much as the next girl, but it was something new, and I’m not really a tchotchke kind of girl.  So I put off going to do it for a few weeks, and then I ended up with a job that has taken most of my extra time and energy ever since.

I felt guilty about not using the certificate, and had almost forgotten about it completely, when I found it a few days ago.  The certificate had long-since expired, but I called Thanksgiving Point anyway and they agreed that I could still come in and use it.  So I made an appointment.

I arrived and they assigned Vicente to teach me what to do.  He was super patient with me as I explained to him that I was a blogger, and this was really cool, and I would be taking lots of pictures.  He was actually a little excited by this news and he offered to take my picture during the process. 

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Vicente explained that I should stand behind the line and watch the process first.  So I watched as he took a long metal rod and stuck it into a burning hot furnace of molten glass.  He told me that they kept the furnace at 2100 degrees, to make the glass workable.

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Vicente then brought the super hot glass ball on the end of the metal rod over to the workbench near me and showed me what to do to shape the glass and then used a giant pair of tweezers to pull the edges of the glass until it formed a glass flower.

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After the demonstration, I chose the colors I wanted my glass flowers to be, and put on my gloves.  The trick to keeping the really hot liquid glass on the rod was to keep it spinning, which was harder than it sounds because it’s super hot where you are standing.

After getting the right size of glass ball,  you take it and roll it into the color pieces on a metal table, and then heat it up again so that it melts, and then roll it again on a clean metal surface.

Then it’s time to shape it into a flower.  Using the large tweezer tool, I pulled little petals as Vicente turned the rod.  (Unfortunately, I couldn’t take pictures of this—and it was the coolest part!  You turn the ball, pulling on it till it is shaped like a plate, and then turn and pull with the giant tweezers over and over again.)  The glass got harder and harder to pull as he turned and by the third round, I had to use two hands to pull the glass. 

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IMG_1806I chose to make flowers that stand up, so that I could place them on a table.  To finish, Vicente and his other helper formed the stem of the flower and cut the glass.  They welded then end to round it off, and then placed it in a large cooling box for about 24 hours.

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I ended up making two flowers and love how they turned out.  I hadn’t really thought about what colors I wanted to use before going in, so I ended up going with different shades of blue, based on some rooms that I am decorating right now.

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IMG_1894After I got home, I second-guessed myself because, really, blue flowers?  When I picked them up a few days later, I was happy with how they looked, but it wasn’t until I got home and was showing them to my kids that I realized that they look like water. 

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Apparently, this landlocked girl needs to go to the beach, because my flowers look like waves.

P.S.  For those of you in the area, I noticed that there is a Groupon right now for Glass Flowers at Thanksgiving Point, so if you would like to try this, now’s your chance!

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