Today I hosted a beginner glassblower whose first session began today. Besides having made a pumpkin with my help, glass was a new animal to my new pupil. He wanted to do more than make a few items like a pumpkin or ornament. He wanted to develop skill. He wanted a deeper dive. He “got” the crazy level of skill required and didn’t flinch when I told him my hourly rate for one-on-one intensive teaching. It’s more than instruction, you are renting a facility whose btu ranges are up there with some of the legends in dragons. If you missed what I meant, let’s just say we are talking many hundreds of thousands of those Brittish Thermal Units.
I teach all students the same way, which is with a lot of repetition and making a drinking glass as soon as they are able. A drinking glass serves as the embryo from which vase, bowl, and platter energe.
Normally I would expect to see a new student make a tumbler by their second or third session. Today, it was done within a three hour stretch. To say I was pleased is an understatement. I explained that it wasn’t until my third try that I was able to get my first tumbler made when I began to learn glassblowing. I realized that I was one of about eight students in a class where we rarely were able to cycle through every student in a two to three hour session in class. It was slow go. By being able to give my complete attention to the student and then he was able to give his full attention to the glass, we had a combination that led to quick returns on skill levels. I had a very focused student and I think he had some great instruction, too. I’m very excited to see how far my new student goes with glassblowing.
I don’t offer classes because they are a big money maker. I do it because I really love glass and want people to have access to this magical material. Glass is crazy-expensive. People stand gape-mouthed at a price of $400.00 for a three-day intensive. But that is what needs to happen in order for the gas to be paid not to mention the electricity. Each month the gas bill alone for a small shop like mine is routinely in the $1,000.00+ range. The electric is the same. Factor in glass that’s $40-75.00 per kilo for color, and this makes glass a very expensive propositio