Thursday, October 13, 2016

A 'Forever' Pumpkin

Last Friday, Janet Lutz and I played hookie. Janet is the owner of Calico Gals, and you might also be familiar with her name if you collected Row by Row Experience™ patterns this summer.

A few weeks ago Pat Sloan posted a comment on Facebook as she drove past Corning, New York in her travels. Both Janet and I commented on Pat's post. The Corning Museum of Glass has a studio where visitors can 'make' blown glass objects like ornaments and beads. During certain times of the year, a special blown glass item is featured that you can't make any other time of year. And in October, it's pumpkin season!

With Corning only a 2-hour drive away, we decided to take a day to go play. So off we headed on a beautiful sunny fall day.

Here we are sporting safety glasses for our pumpkin-making experience.

Since it was such nice weather outside, Janet was wearing sandals, perhaps for the last time this season. She had to cover up her feet with fashionable foot coverings resembling duck feet.

Our objective was a glass pumpkin like this one.

And our first task was to select colors - we could choose up to three. . . . orange and clear glass for the pumpkin, and lime green for the stem were my choices. Janet choose spooky black on black.

Jackie, our hostess, and the one that really did most of the work, explained the process. Glass is heated in furnaces in the wall, then she grabs a gob of glass (the bright red blob) on the end of the tube. (there are official names for all these things, but I was so excited to make my pumpkin, I can't remember all the technicalities)

While the glass is still hot and pliable, we were invited to blow into the tube while Jackie rolled the pipe to keep the pumpkin nice and round. Think of a marshmallow at a campfire. If you don't turn it, it becomes a saggy mess. While I blow, Jackie shapes the pumpkin.

Once the pumpkin is formed, Jackie reaches in for some more glass, adds colored glass, then sticks it on top of the pumpkin and twists it to make the curled stem. My pumpkin waits for its stem.

And there you have it. The colors look nothing like the finished product. . . yet. The glass has to cool overnight in a hot kiln which gradually brings the glass to room temperature. Only enough time for a quick photo before the glass breaks from cooling too fast.

Next, it was Janet's turn. Notice that she's just sitting on an old wooden carton! A typical working studio! Nothing fancy. (Kinda goes with Janet's footwear)

Her turn to blow into the tube while Jackie does the real work. Fortunately, both Janet and I had enough hot air to fill out our pumpkins. Hot air is never in short supply for either of us! *Wink!*

And there's Janet's spooky black pumpkin.

And here are the finished pumpkins, delivered yesterday. Aren't they cool?


It would have been a shame to go all that way and have nothing to bring home to show for it. Not to worry, we stopped in the museum gift shop for a little shopping therapy. We did not come home empty-handed!

And we had to drive home through wine country. We *might* have stopped at a winery for a taste or two.

Happy Glass-blowing and Stitching!
Joan Ford

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