This Blows! (No, Really, I'm Newly in Love with Glass-Blowing)

Friday, May 11, 2018

I'm no artist, but I've always wanted to try glass-blowing. My friend Sean, an education major, took glass-blowing classes in college as a creative release, & his home was full of paperweights & vases & other beautiful things he made amidst term papers & finals. Seeing what he created only made me want to try it more.

I was thrilled to be invited to a glass-blowing event at The Glass Asylum, a studio in Chagrin Falls. I get to go to a few cool blogger events here in the CLE, but this was far & away one of the coolest I've ever attended - & I can't wait to go back on my own time to see what else I can create.

Chris Crimaldi, owner of The Glass Ayslum, is an electrician by trade, & he didn't get into glass-blowing until 2009. When his glass-blowing mentor took a job in Alabama, he purchased her studio & grew it into what it is today: a place that specializes in workshops, events, one-of-a-kind artwork, & custom lighting (because electrician + glass artist = some incredible, unique lighting options). 

The space is huge & airy, located in the same building as M Italian - who kindly provided us delicious pizzas & other goodies for this blogger event (& who will serve you in the glassblowing studio, should you want to eat while you're there). The 10 bloggers in attendance chatted for a bit &  chowed down before we got to work creating our masterpieces.

Full of pizza, we got a safety spiel from the staff artists, & then, two at a time, we paired up with studio staff to start working. 

First, you choose from The Glass Asylum's menu of options to decide what you want to make. I went with a bud vase, an orb-shaped vase with a flat bottom, & because I'm terrible with colors (all black everything!) I decided to go the easy route: party confetti! Rather than choosing a singular color, I chose a combo of all of them, in a speckled design. Other options include, as you can see below, paperweights, glass flowers, garden orbs, beer steins, business card holders, shot classes... you name it, you can probably make it. 

Guests have creative control over the style, size, & shape of what they create, but because it's such a precise (& potentially dangerous) activity, much of the technical work is done by staff. They let you help them out, though, holding your unformed glass blob over the fire like a marshmallow, doing the actual glass blowing, & tapping your creation off the pole after it's fully fired (you use a big wooden paddle to get it off!). 

The whole process takes only 20 minutes, if you're making something small. The staff is super friendly & make it not-at-all awkward. They're all local artists with massive artistic knowledge bases, so they can answer just about any question you could ever have about glass & the glassblowing process. For example, we learned that green glass is the cheapest to make, which is why you see so much of it - & pink glass is the most expensive, so it's far less common. 

Karen of Glam Karen even brought her own safety glasses. Science teacher FTW! 

Samantha of The Samantha Show was one of the first to give it a try.  

Rachel of It's a Hero watches her piece go into the flames... which they call a "glory hole." 

I feel like Shana of Black Girl in the CLE did not love me for taking this photo, haha. 

Tara of The Self-Care Suite made a big, glass flower. Look at that cool, swirly stem!

Here I am rolling my glass blob in colorful metal pieces before we form it into a vase.

I told you this blows!

It takes a few days for your pieces to fully cool & be ready to take home, so I don't have it yet - but I can't wait to see how it turned out. I plan to fill it with some of the leftover paper flowers from our November wedding.

My mom doesn't usually read my blog, so I'll tell you that I'm already planning my next glassblowing experience: I'm going to gift her an experience there for Mother's Day! We probably won't go until summer, when I'm back from Costa Rica, but I think it'll be such a fun thing for us to do together. 

Want to plan your own trip to The Glass Asylum? I'm excited to be hosting a giveaway for a $50 gift card to The Glass Asylum! Check out this Instagram post to enter.

Disclaimer: I was provided a complementary workshop experience at The Glass Asylum, along with food from M Italian & Jim Alesci's Place, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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