Monday, February 6, 2012

Amy Waldman-Smith

Let me introduce myself.  I am Amy Waldman-Smith, a lampworker from the Toronto area.  It is my great pleasure to be a guest blogger here on the Nortel Blog.
I just got back from a week long class at Corning.  Corning is well known for glass (that is where Corningware comes from, among other things).  They have the most amazing glass museum and fantastic studios.  You can take all sorts of glass classes at Corning.  When I was there three separate classes were running.  Glass casting, glass blowing and flamework.  They have tons of other classes offered throughout the year – mosaics, fusing, coldworking, all taught by world class teachers. 

The class that I got into was called Fiore e Angeli (Flowers and Angels) taught by both Paul Stankard and Lucio Bubacco.  Each is a master of his craft.  Paul Stankard is known worldwide for his paperweights and Lucio Bubacco makes the most amazing figures out of soft glass. 

One of the great things about Corning these days is that they are running live streaming of certain classes (one per week) on Wednesdays from 11 am to about noon.  This gives you a chance to see the studio in action and to actually check out a teacher and see how they really teach.  Kind of a sneak preview.  These are live streamed through and Corning also has a youtube page where the videos are also uploaded so you can always watch them later, or again and again if that tickles your fancy.  

The focus of the class I took was flowers and angels – small creations and some figure work and also casting these into glass panels.  I was really keen to play in the hot shop.  We needed help of course.  But after making bits and pieces we all went into the hot shop and got to create a panel with the help of the Corning staff.  Ladling 2300 degree glass into panels is not something you want to do with no experience!

Here are some photos that I took.  The first is the pieces of a collaborative piece that Paul and Lucio created.  Paul did the eye (a beautiful little flower) and Lucio did the rest of the face pieces.

Frit was placed in the metal frame, then a first layer of hot glass was poured in.  The face pieces were quickly placed on top of the hot glass and then a second layer of glass was added.  

After cooling slightly the frame is removed, the bottom tidied up with a really big flame and then the whole thing gets popped into the annealer for a really, really long time. 

Corning classes are run by lottery.  You must submit your application and then wait (on pins and needles) to see if you are chosen for your first pick of classes.  It was well worth the wait.  Classes run for January and February and again during the summer.  There are weekend classes you can attend as well.  It is only about a five hour car ride from Toronto.  I already have my eye on a weekend glass blowing class for the spring and I am already looking forward to seeing the winter schedule so I can attend for another class in 2013.