When we started to plan our trip to the central California coast, glassblowing was not originally on our list. Yet, a friend of ours mentioned a neat shop in the small town of nearby Harmony called Harmony Glassworks. Since it was only about 10 minutes away, we decided to check it out. We are so happy that we did!
It was amazing to see how the owner and resident artisan, Eric, could turn this into this:
With a little bit of that and that:
Inside the unassuming warehouse at the end of an even more unassuming tiny town of Harmony, CA is a full collection of glass-blown products. In addition to the huge selection, individual glassblowing lessons are available as well. For only $125, you receive 1-1/2 hour of instruction, the two pieces you make during the lesson, and a memory that will last a lifetime. Not only that but it’s just such a cool experience!
During my session I learned to work with two main tools (the jack and taglio), blow into and shape the glass, and how to add color (in the first photo I rolled it in purple crushed glass). Children must be at least 12 years old to take a lesson so, though she could not participate, my daughter was still able to get a very close look at the process.
At the beginning I was a bit hesitant to be working with burning hot molten glass. It turns out that it wasn’t that bad. I happened to be wearing cotton which helped me stay cool and the glove I was given provided even more protection. The scariest part was when I only had some wet newspaper between my hand and the glowing glass right out of the furnace. Fortunately, Eric was very good about communicating with me and was mindful of if it got too hot for me or not. The fact that he’s used to dealing with his own young children meant he was very patient with my awkwardness of being a total beginner.
The glass takes about 12 hours to cool properly so we picked up my final pieces the next day. For those not staying nearby, they do ship your items for a small fee.
All-in-all, I had a great time and would recommend anyone visiting to take a class here. If you have family or friends with you, I would suggest to have them go off and do something then return about 45 minutes later. The first part of the instruction is mostly for you to see how things works and get a feel for what you will be doing later. By the time I was making the second piece, of which I did most of it myself, my husband and daughter had gotten kind of bored sitting on the side and watching. So, save your photo memory cards for the last portion of the lesson when you’re fully involved.
Still not convinced this is something for you? Well, I have no artistic ability and it was my first time to even see glassblowing done yet watch how my lesson went:
So give Eric an email and schedule a lesson today! Oh, and when you sign his log book after the lesson, look for my entry there!