View Full Version : BIG glass

06-28-2002, 02:20 AM
Hullo. I'm usually hanging out in the CP, Drawing or Pen & Ink forums. Now, it looks like I'll be adding this one to my list and getting my hubby to sign up for WetCanvas now.

For the past 6 years, my hubby and I have demonstrated blown glass at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival. I think the building is getting sold before the season this year, so we probably won't be there. The owner is setting up a year-round studio instead. If I get around to it, I'll scan some pictures of the shop. It's a basic setup with a demo area that includes a tank furnace, glory hole, annealing kiln, a blower bench and one or two large marvers. The demo area attaches to a two story building (sales shop downstairs and full lounge/living area upstairs. We demonstrate for seven full weekends.

My husband has been blowing ornaments, vases, flasks, oil lamps, and beer mugs. When I'm in the shop, I just assist (too hot to do much blowing in August while wearing a Renaissance costume). I've done a few beads and have a studio set up in my house. Of course, I have yet to use it. It was built just as I discovered I was pregnant and the access to it goes through the nursery. It makes it hard to get in there without waking the child. Oops. :(

My skills are basic, but I can do decent simple bead and operate well enough around a furnace that I don't hurt myself. :D Anyhow, I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's glass. :)

06-28-2002, 05:39 AM
Welcome Leanne,

I'm sure I will have lots of questions for you:D
Please consider posting some of your blown objects!

06-28-2002, 08:04 AM
Hey, LeAnne - good to meet you! You may also see me hanging around the drawing forum, too! Lots of us glass and beadmakers from the KC area - I'm from Lincoln, NE, not too far away.

What type torch set up do you have in your house? And definitely post some of your hubby's blown glass work - something I'd LOVE to learn, but have yet to get a grip on the small stuff!

Beth :D

Mike E etc
06-28-2002, 08:16 AM
For the past 6 years, my hubby and I have demonstrated blown glass at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival.
Hi LeAnne,
Per chance you know Bruce from Moon Marble Co. in Bonner Springs. A former Renaissance Festival participant and lampwork marble maker. Nice to have you aboard.
Mike E

Laura Brito
06-28-2002, 08:20 AM
Hey LeAnne!

You should do a project for us all! Some kind of little thing, not to big hehe, alot of us can't do bigger things, or maybe a small and big (I do have a big torch and a big kiln), I usually only need my centerfire for what I do. So it would help me branch out! Or my husband.


06-28-2002, 09:13 AM
Hi LeAnne,
You two do furnace and lampwork? What a great Crossover team!

Furnace working is something that I plan to move into eventually, as money becomes available and I can find someone close enough for lessons.

Looking forward to seeing work from both of you!

06-28-2002, 10:11 AM
Well you learn something new everyday!

We are going to a ren faire this weekend, we've been going for quite a few years now, and I always stop to watch the glass blowers...lol...one of my favorite things to do at the faire!

I hear the KC Ren Faire is a nice one too, I can imagine you've had lots of fun there!

:) :) :)

06-28-2002, 11:13 AM
Wow. Let me see if I can answer all these questions.

Harold, I'll try and get the few items we have photographed. Unfortunately, most of it gets sold during the festival, so there isn't a lot in the house. If my husband joins up, I'll let him post his stuff.

I can start with this picture. It is myself and my son. I really wasn't in the shop this year because I was taking care of him. On my belt, you can see the first ornament my husband and I ever blew. It's a very small one and so thick that I can wear it on my belt without breaking it. We laugh at it now because it's just so bad. However, it was the first. :)

It was blown in a traditional tandem style. The first year at the festival, we did not use a bench and blew in pairs. We had pipe stands, so the gaffer would jack the piece and shape it, instructing the other on when to blow or heat, etc. I was the gaffer on this ugly little thing. :) The next year, we went to single bench blowing with an assistant when needed. You can't really see it, but I also have a wine colored hanging flask that my husband and I did. It's on my belt under my son.


06-28-2002, 11:33 AM
Now, let's see if I can get the rest of the questions.

Beth, I just have a hot head torch set up. We took metal adjustable shelving and 2 marble slabs (formerly coffee table and end table) and set them on the shelving to make an L shape desk. I learned to do beads at Renfest on a minor bench burner. There was a beadmaker there who showed me one day. Two years ago (when I was pregnant), we demonstrated beadwork instead of big glass. So, I got a touch more practice in.

Mike, I'm afraid I don't know him. I only know two of the lampworkers (Mike of Unicorn Glass and Thorvik Malgar of Oakheart). We tend to meet the furnace glassblowers. :)

Laura, I'd love to come up with a project, but I don't know where I'd begin. The nature of the equipment used for furnace work would really would limit the number of people who could participate. If we are doing demos at fest or get the new studio going, I will take my digital and try and do a tutorial though.

Kristian, it is fun. When we are able to blow, I really enjoy it. He loves the furnace work and I enjoy assisting him. He can do beads, but isn't as thrilled with it. I love beads though. Maybe one day we'll have our own studio. I'd love that. However, the setup is SO expensive, I don't know if it will happen. Just the cost of gas alone is enormous. The cost and availability has been my husband's biggest frustration. Right now, he only gets to blow during the festival so he isn't able to really build his skill. He's had a couple offers to apprentice to area glass blowers, but he works full-time in IT management and can't do that.

Ivy, the festival is fun and annoying. There are definitely some strange folk at those shows. The KC faire is a permanent installation that runs 7 weekends. It is one of the best, largest, and longest faires in the country. We always get huge crowds at our demos. Right now, the only other place in Missouri or Kansas I know of that does furnace demos like we do is at Silver Dollar City in Branson.

06-29-2002, 01:33 AM
LeAnne - I started on a hothead, and personally, I really liked it. I always took it as a personal challenge when I'd hear things like "you can't do <insert technique here> on a hothead". About the only thing you really can't do is work boro. I think the hothead is great because it allows you to learn control before working too hot.

Of course, within 2 months I was on a Minor by Nortel. Love it. I also bought a Major from Nortel, which also has a Minor on top. Haven't used it yet, but maybe I'll set it up soon.

I also loved the simplicity and portability of the hothead. Now I work with an O2 generator and am hoping to hook up to the Natural Gas line in my house - nothing portable about that! So, if I need a mobile torch, got get out my hothead!