Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gnome in my Home

I'm a few weeks behind in documenting my glassblowing progress.

In the second class, we learned about punties, which is a technique used to pass the glass you are working on from one pipe to another so that you can work on different sections of the glass or so that you can add pieces to the project.  We still did not "blow" the glass or add air to make it hollow, because learning punties is a necessary step before we get into the more complicated areas of glassblowing. So, think of this as foundation technique.

We started by practicing making well-shaped and -sized little punties, or little pieces of glass that could be used to pass the glass from one pipe to another.  We played "punty ball" which was passing the ball from one student to another until it dropped and broke to practice the passing technique.  Then we got into our individual projects.

Our goal here was to design a solid sculpture made up of 2-3 pieces, sketch it, think about how each piece would be shaped and how they would come together, and then make it with a partner.  We ended up not using color in this lesson, so our sculptures came out clear.

My partner made an apple - with a round body and the little indentation on the top and bottom, a stem, and a leaf.  Three somewhat basic shapes.

I designed... a gnome.

Sketching it out, I envisioned one cone for the legs, with just an indentation between them, rather than two separate legs.  I thought a cone might be better than a cylinder for helping him stand upright.

Then I envisioned a second, larger cone for the body.  No arms, to keep things simple.  Kind of like the Travelocity gnome.

I thought about having the gnome body cone stick out a bit over the legs, especially having the "belly" droop a little over the legs, mostly by letting the glass get hot and melt down a little bit.

The third piece would be a round little head.  I was skipping the beard and facial expressions at this point although if I had more time maybe I could have drawn them on.

And the fourth piece would be the iconic, and absolutely necessary, cone hat.  Otherwise, this would just be a little guy, right?

The result?

(My mom said it looked like "a cat.") 

Looking at the pieces, I would say the two main problems were the legs and the cone hat. I tried to make the legs flat on the bottom so it would stand, but it in the process I made the legs too fat.  And they still don't stand up on their own.  It will stand for a second or two, but then it plops over.  

As for the cone hat, basically I think my problem was that I rushed it.  I tried to just stick on the glass thinking that as I pulled it off, it would be cone-shaped.  When it wasn't really cone shaped, I was afraid to marver it (shape it against a hard surface) because I didn't want the round head to get flattened out.  Maybe I could have tried to marver it from a high angle.  But what I should have done was form a better cone shape separately. 

Well, I'm learning!  And yesterday was... wait for it... a rain-free day!

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