Hot Glass

As promised, The Oredigger followed up with the new glass shop that is one facet of the Hill Hall Hot shop (where Free Pour Fridays take place!). Much has happened since the last interview with the glass shop.

The glass shop has hosted three Soda Lime Sundays (SLS) already, with one in the books for Metallurgy and Materials Students in February. The first Soda Lime Sunday open to campus will be hosted on March 4th, so be sure to keep an eye out for a sign-up sheet in the Daily Blast! Soda Lime Sunday is a great introduction to glass blowing; in 20-minute sessions students learn how to make their own paperweights.

The students choose the color of their paperweight and how they want to manipulate the interior in order to create beautiful optical patterns in the completed piece. In addition to learning fundamental glass working skills of blocking, jack lines, and slumping, gaffers and bench assistants also discuss how color can affect heat absorption by the glass, and how this affects both the viscosity and workability of hot glass. Soda Lime Sunday is a great hands-on opportunity to experience something new.

Last month, the glass shop was featured on 9News, with both student interviews and footage of them hard at work. The video clip can be found on the Mines Newsroom webpage. The glass shop is seeing use multiple days a week, with the next wave of gaffers in training.

Eight students, a mix of graduate and undergraduate, are the current set of gaffers in training that meet once a week to learn the art of blowing glass. These students are building a basic skill set of gathering glass from the furnace, coloring and shaping the glass, and in the coming months they will progress on to more advanced blown pieces. Once fully trained, these additional gaffers will allow the shop to run SLS on a more regular basis, thus sharing materials knowledge with a wider audience.

Gaffers are producing flowers for a Valentine’s Day fundraiser for the shop. The gaffers have been creating roses, lilies, daisies and a multitude of other flowers in preparation for this sale. On Feb. 9, 12, and 13, members of Keramos will be selling the glass flowers in the Student Center. The flowers range from $5 to $50.

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