Classes in glassblowing are without a doubt a blast. This entry will provide you with what you need to know when registering for a class.
First, you need to know that most of our classes are actually one-on-one instruction with time slots on our registration page so we can teach each person one at a time. That means that each slot on our registration calendar is for one person making whatever item they have chosen to make. There are a couple of exceptions to thus rule, such as our day-long and weekend classes. More about those later…
This also means that if you are coming with a group and you are signing up for slots on a per-person basis, you will each want to book a slot that is back-to-back with the other people in your group.
Check out the length of our classes that require one person per time slot to figure out the amount of time your group will be at the studio. This is found on the booking calendar where you go to register. If you have seven people and everyone wants to make an item that takes an hour to make (again-see the time allotted on the registration form or class description) and decide if your group is willing to wait that long. In some cases, coming to the studio in batches of two or three people might make more sense.
Okay, you are signed up to make a suncatcher, here is what you need to do to blow glass…
Your clothing needs to be cotton because synthetic melts. Check your clothes and yes, Spandex is synthetic. Dress comfortably. Shirts with long sleeves are a plus because they protect your arms which will get the most heat exposure. We have arm and eye protection.
Shoes must cover your feet. No sandals, flip-flops, pumps, or slippery shoes. Sneakers are great.
Age ranges are ten years and up. Anyone younger can be on the blowing floor selecting colors and directing the making of a piece but children younger than this are too small to handle the blow pipes safely. However, we encourage young children to come and watch and have input on their own custom design. It is still lots of fun. All minor children must be accompanied by a parent.
Other Important Bits
Other things to consider are whether you are sensitive to heat. Elderly often have less ability to manage keeping their bodies cool. Please let us know if you are heat sensitive so we can keep you safe.
One-on-one Classes Vs. Group Classes
As described earlier in the post many classes are designed for one person at a time. These include ornaments, suncatchers, paperweights, drinking glasses, and bowls. Our group classes are a different animal entirely.
In a group class, namely our day-long and weekend class, up to four people per instructor needs to be registered for a class to “make.” If you can find four people, we will provide you or your group with discounts which save us from advertising for and finding the participants. Often if you are short people, we can try on our end to find participants.
These classes are taught to the entire group, with participants watching as each person has their turn making a variety of items. There is less “hand-holding” in these classes and participants do all of the steps involved in the making of pieces. This is a slower process but you will learn more. In our ornament class, for example, you will do about 70% of the steps with our instructor doing the other 30% to make sure the piece turns out near-perfect.
A day or weekend class takes you through vessels like tumblers and bowls, and also includes paperweights and suncatchers/ornaments. Depending on what time is left in the day, participants can choose additional pieces to make if they want. This is decided as a group.
You Can’t Take It With You?
All glass blown must anneal in our kilns. That means items made cannot be taken the day you make them but must be picked up later. Each class description on our site will tell you when you can expect to pick up your pieces. And yes, we are happy to arrange to ship your pieces to you if you can’t pick them up later.
To see our classes and what is available right now this link will take you to that page on our site:
Parker Stafford is the owner of Stafford Art Glass, a gallery and studio that produces a broad range of original designs in glass. The studio is located in Newport, Virginia.