Friday, February 15, 2013

A Rhody Minimoon: Glassblowing and a Winery

The Monday after our wedding, we left our house around noon, ready to start our little getaway.  About a half hour later, we arrived in Newport, our destination for the next few days.  We planned to arrive just before our first activity of the day - glassblowing.

I have always been so intrigued by the art of making glass, and I figured that it would be a lot of fun to actually take a glassblowing lesson.  We arrived at the Thames Glass studio for our session, and it was so awesome!

We were taken back through the shop to the work area, and given a basic lesson on safety, i.e.: don't touch the glass.  Easy enough!

Our teacher told us that he would be helping us through the lesson - making glass ornaments.  The first thing we did was to choose the colors that we wanted our ornaments to be.  I decided to go with white, yellow, and orange, and D decided to go with white, teal, and purple.

I went first in our lesson, but you'll see pictures from both me and D in our lessons below.  With help from the glassblower, we took some glass out of the oven, which he said was at about 1200 degrees fahrenheit! So hot! We started rolling it to prepare it for being blown, then we would stick it back in the oven for about 30 seconds to keep it hot, and then take it back out and roll it some more.

We did this a few more times, except this time, we added color in between.  You can see in the picture below that there are trays on the shelf with different colors in them.  This is how you color your glass.  Colored glass shards are rolled into the glass you have on the blowing pipe, and then you heat the glass in the oven again for it to absorb the color.  

After the colors were added and heated into the glass, it was time to actually start blowing.  The glassblower helped out a lot in this step because the trick is to keep rotating the blowing pipe while you're blowing into the glass so that it doesn't end up warped and the ornament becomes an even ball instead of a lopsided one.

It was kind of difficult to get the air pocket started in the glass, but I think that's actually because I was afraid of blowing it too hard and popping it completely.  D said that he didn't have any problems at all, but I think he was just fibbing.

Once we had an air pocket formed in the middle of the glass, we had to stop blowing so that we could use some metal tools to help form the ornament.  We used a metal clamp to pinch slightly while still rotating the glass on the blowing pipe, just to get the ornament to form properly.

After the pinching, we got right back to blowing, getting the ornament to it's finished size.

Once we got the ornaments to their standard size, the glassblower had us go around the top again with the metal clamp, and then took the ornament away.

He held the blowing pipe vertically, with the ornament at the bottom, and gently placed the ornament on a bed of towels.  Then, he took the metal clamp, and struck the blowing pipe with it, and the ornament detached from the pipe, breaking the glass clean at the opening where the air pocket was created.  

He then went back over to the glass oven, took a small amount of glass out, and twisted it on the top of the ornament, sealing the hole shut, and making a strong loop so that the ornament could be hung.  

He took both of our ornaments and placed them in a different oven for the glass to cure, and said that we could pick them up in two days - perfect timing, because that's as long as we would be in town!

It really was such a cool lesson, and they offer different ones as well! You can take lessons on how to make paperweights, and even vases, which I can definitely see us doing in the future!

After we left Thames Glass, we headed over to a winery for a tasting, which we thought was a great way to relax for the afternoon.  

We decided to go to Newport Vineyards, and try their wines.  I've been trying more wines lately, in an attempt to find what I do and don't like, and it's been interesting, considering I don't really like alcohol, and the only fruit I eat is cantaloupe.  I know, I'm weird.  We'll go there some other time.  

The grounds of the winery were beautiful! They were done with tours for the day, but we were able to walk the grounds a bit ourselves, and it was so cool.  

When we went inside for the tasting, we were handed a tasting sheet, that listed and described all the different wines they had available.  

We each chose a different one, so that we were able to taste twice as many as possible, for a total of trying 15 different types of wines.  And, as part of the tasting, we were gifted our glasses, which have the Newport Vineyards logo on them.  

One of the wines that we tried towards the end was an Ice Wine, which is known as a dessert wine - must sweeter than regular whites.  

It was really good, but very sweet.  The logo on the wine label was so cool too!

We ended up buying a case of wine, 2 bottles in 6 different kinds that we really liked, and because we bought a full case, and got the membership, since we're so local, we also got a little bottle of their "house" wine.  

Our next stop was one of my favorites.

All Pictures Personal.  And taken using cell phone camera's. Sorry for the quality!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Excellent Post. I like your post very much.
Thanks for nice sharing.
Excellent House Wines

Thanks a lot.

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