A Glassblowing Adventure!

While I attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison, eventually receiving a BS in Art, I missed out on glassblowing. I have always regretted that decision. The UW is credited with having the best classes in the country. So when my birthday rolled around in April, I was thrilled when my daughter, Courtney, signed us up for a class at the Denver Glass Academy!

Glassblowing equipment.

What do you think about when you conjure ideas of glassblowing? Torches? Burned fingers? Glass explosions? Burned skin? All of those thoughts crossed my mind after we parked and walked to class. It’s a curse to have a creative mind.

Courtney and Susie Lindau with Jody Bing, our instructor from the Denver Glass Academy. Click for photos of this amazing glassblowing class!

While waiting for class to start, Courtney and I compared our sweaty hands. Then two other students arrived for our introductory class and our instructor, Cody Bing, showed us the tools we would use. She blew a glass ornament and a flower. Easy peasy.

Our instructor blowing glass. Looks easy doesn't it? Click for photos of the introductory class and what we made!

My only question?

How did she do that????

You know how it is when you’re nervous but need to pay attention to details? Especially when you have to deal with fragile and breakable objects that could soon become melting orbs of pure hellacious globs of glowing death? Yeah, well, my sweaty hands didn’t stop perspiring.

Courtney is filling her tube with colored glass jimmies. Not sure that jimmies are a real thing, but they are bigger than powder and smaller than shards.

Filling the tube with color for glassblowing

Cody mentioned something about continuing to roll the pipette-like tube and heating the tip of the other end until it shrunk. Once it had contracted and was enflamed, we were to pull it out while still rolling the pipe between our fingers.

Then we were to take a deep breath and slowly bloooooooooooooowwwwwww!

Click on the video of Courtney blowing melted glass to create an ornament!

Courtney blew a flower and an ornament. I made two ornaments. Both of my ornaments are lumpy like me. We are standing in front of the Welcome to the Denver Glass Academy poster.

Notice the relief on my face? I didn’t burn myself or anyone else and the studio was still standing!

Glass blown ornaments created at the Denver Glass Academy

My creations.

Handmade blown glass ornaments

Courtney’s blown glass flower.

Glass blown flower

A tribute to being SIX YEARS CANCER FREE! YAY!

Ornament pasties! A tribute to being SIX YEARS CANCER FREE!

After class, we talked to our instructor. Guess where she learned how to blow glass? Yep. The University of Wisconsin – Madison. I was so stressed out before class, I didn’t notice her t-shirt. LOL!

It was a real birthday treat and a dream come true. Thank you, Courtney! (((hugs)))

Would you take a glassblowing class? What kind of class makes you nervous?

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45 thoughts on “A Glassblowing Adventure!

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  1. I think an art class with a nude model would be too much for me. Glassblowing peaks my interest. What a FUN Adventure! I love your creations too. I remember the one time I joined in a vocal yoga class where your are vocal the whole time (i.e. laughing, chuffing, etc.). I had to contain my fit of giggles. Never did that again so not my speed. Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂


    1. Thanks, Renee! It was a lot of fun. Now I know what goes into crafting glass. Years ago, I made several stained glass windows. Now I prefer blowing to cutting!

      Hahahaha! I have never heard of a vocal yoga class. That would really interrupt my zen-time. 🙂


  2. Always sounded like a dangerous hobby to me! And Courtney’s flower looks like a bubble someone popped…but maybe that’s the point! 😅


  3. (Someone is bound to say something about hot air, but I’ll skip that…HaHa)
    Happy Birthday and what a cool, yet hot time. What a great kid you have.
    (Oh, we’ll just call the ornaments “Vintage” as in before commercial uniformity. Those will look lovely – especially because they come with a story)


  4. Burnt skin from inadvertently touching something I shouldn’t – just forgetting it’s hot – is what comes to mind right away. But I’ve always found it fascinating to watch glassblowers. It hadn’t crossed my mind that the hot glass might shatter or splatter. Yikes. You are so brave to try this beautiful art. And btw, congrats on the six years!!!!


    1. Thanks so much, Anneli! I can’t believe it’s been that long. Yay!
      I really concentrated, but can imagine spacing out if I did it often enough. Youch! It was a little intimidating but very fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s so cool. I always figured glass-blowing was one of those trades you have to kind of be born into, it’s nice to know there’s a great school for it!


  6. Somehow beauty and fragility are closely related. Out here we have myriad cottage glass-blowers who ruin their health blowing and breathing lead. I have seen them work, and the beauty and pain of it all would water my eyes.


  7. Looks like fun, Susie. Having been raised in New York state not far from Corning, I had several visits or tours of Corning glass. Amazing how glass blowing can br turned into a production line! I think your creations are fine ….not lumpy at all and neither are you.

    Couldn’t help thinking something funny (you knew this was coming, right?) A new, more polite way to put some annoying person down….”blow it out your glass!” Sorry.


    1. Hahahaha! I always laugh out loud at your comments, Al. Too funny!

      It amazes me that anyone ever thought of glassblowing. You gotta wonder if the idea came to an ironworker in a dream. Pretty crazy!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This looks like so much fun, and well done for not burning yourself! I haven’t tried glass blowing myself but have been to a demonstration. It looks like magic.
    I studied art and textiles so have been to many stressful and tense workshops. The most nerve wracking being life drawing. We had the same male nude model for 10 weeks, and he wasn’t like they portray in the movies!


    1. Hahaha! That can be so true. I took a couple semesters of life drawing. The very first model was a pretty cute guy. I remember feeling so incredibly awkward. It was a Friday class. That night, I saw him at my favorite bar! I freaked out like any immature 18-year-old. LOL!!! After that my line was, “You can’t embarrass an art major. We’ve seen it all.” Ha!

      What medium do you prefer?

      Thanks, Gemma!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. What a cool thing to do! I’ve never tried glassblowing, although I have visited a few historical centres that had people working there who had been trained in the traditional way of doing it. It’s a lot of work, but you get such cool stuff in the end (as you already know. 🙂 )

    Do you think you’ll do something like this again?


    1. I had only seen it on TV. 🙂 It’s mush cooler in real life as you know!
      I definitely would try something else. It was fun but nerve-wracking and I had a sore throat for a couple hours afterward. There is so much out there to experience!
      Thanks, Lydia!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Looks brilliant Susie. What a great thing to try and how wonderful to do it with your daughter. Looks like great fun and you ended up with some special ornaments that tell their own story. What could be better.


  11. Wow, this must have been an awesome adventure. I have seen glass blowing in Italy, and what an incredible experience to just see it. I am sure it must be been even better to try it and make some ornaments as well. Thanks for sharing at SIPB. I flipped your post


  12. That sounds very fun, and yes somewhat intimidating!! I love that your sense of humor remained intact 😉 Painting would bring fear, I can barely draw a stick figure !!


  13. This looks so fun!

    I had a friend whose daughter took one of those career aptitude tests. It profession she is most suited for is a glassblower! 1) I was surprised that was a selection. 2) How in the world did she answer to get that result?!

    Liked by 1 person

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