Route4On a trip to Vermont for Christmas this year, I convinced several friends to join me in taking a 3-hour glass blowing workshop at at Route 4 Glassblowing, a smal studio in Windsor, Vermont.  Lada, the founder of the studio, was our very gracious guide ithough this intial adventure.

The first thing you notice is the heat.   It is intense.   And it doesn’t let up until you move away from the furnace.  And just when you feel normal again, you have to go back to the furnace to reheat the piece.  One friend joked that he had a sunburn as a result.  I know I peronally was happy that I was doing it in middle of (a warm) winter instead of in the dead of summer.

The other thing that you notice is the need for constant motion.  Once you begin, you remain in motion until the item is done and placed in the kiln to get cured.  You are always doing SOMETIHING.

The final thing is that it is WAY more difficult than it looks.   But also just as fun as it looks.  And now I’m hooked!

So now, here are the –


Glassblowing - preheat

(1) Heat It Up: You must preheat the metal rod (punty) and blow pipe (until the tip is red to dark orange in color) before attaching glob of molten glass (which has a consistency of honey).

(2) Tuning in to Turning:   And the first rule about glass blowing is…you must always keep the blow pipe turning when blowing and keep the punty turnng when moving from the furnance to the bench, when moving back to the furnace from the bench, when shwhen reheating.


(3) Color in the Clear: The glass colors come from additions of items to the clear mollten glass (red: copper; yellow: uranium; green: iron; blue:cobalr; white silica).   You dip the molten blob into the powdered colors to coat.  And then to mix the colors, you drag a hook-like tool from the top of the sphere down / across multiple times.  (I didn’t do a good job of adding color or mixing as evidenced by the photo to the left.  That is supposed to be red and yellow – not just yellow.)


(4) Fitting the Mold: You use wood molds (including patterns) to shape the glass (e.g., round it or create a star pattern).  You either place the molten glass (as attached to the punty) in the wooden mold while you are sitting at the bench or you stand on a little stool and stick the molten glob in a pattern mold.


(5) Coolin in The Kiln:  You have to put it in a kiln after you complete the form to take the temperature down




Keep turning/moving!

January 3Going without television is much harder on a blizzardy day!

2013 Wrap Up

So many life-altering things happened this year – sick parents, new job, new state of residence; this year was a definitely a year of letting the day-to-day stuff block out the larger life vision.  (Really only went to Walden [#9] and saw a couple of operas [#136].) However, rather than making proclamations of change as is common this time of year, I will just commit to re-connect with this List and see what happens.


Lucky Number 2013.

new year  Well, you wouldn’t know it from my blog but I did actually do a few things in 2012 like:

(1) Went on a Habitat for Humanity build (in Mongolia) [#142];
(2) Attended the Naadam Festival in Mongolia [#96];
(3) Rappelled down a sky scraper [#139]; and
(4) Flew a BlackHawk helicopter simulator…

Along with a few other things, of course.  In the coming weeks, to meet my goal of blogging at least three times a week, I will likely be writing about these experiences in addition to the new ones to come  in 2013.

Speaking of, some of the adventures/experiences I am shooting for  in 2013 include:

  • Bhutan/Tibet
  • Alaska

And some of the projects specifically being tacked in January include:

  • No TV for 1 month (#179)
  • go to sleep by 10 PM for 1 week (#399)
  • sleep 9 hours a day for 1 month (#398)
  • drink nothing but water for 2 weeks (#405)
  • no sugar for 1 month (#408)

9 AM in Akureyri, Iceland (Yes, that is 9 in the morning...)

Made a serious attempt at seeing the Northern Lights in Akureyri, Iceland in December 2011. Despite two 5-hour attempts in the middle of the night in freezing cold temperatures, the Aurora did not make themselves available to me. Guess it will have to be the next time!

#4 Go to Antarctica

  I wrote about my adventure on the White Continent as part of my 400 before 40 list.  See the post here.

Death-obsessed young man
Meets eighty-something pistol.
Learns to love her, life.