stafford artglass

Art and Design, glassblowing

Hotglass Weekend Wrap-Up


4 Comments
1491332_10151977450921859_999679410_o
Closeup of a suncatcher by Carolee J. Bondurant

The event has wound down and the studio was host to dozens of families and friends who came from near and far (one family from North Carolina up for the holidays) who took part in our multi-weekend glass blowing experience that included our BYOB (Blow Your Ornament Ball), and our Hotglass Weekend that was pulled together after many people began inquiring about times after the holidays when they could venture out and get their hands into the hot stuff and play with fire.

893095_10151975499741859_2063089787_o
A smiling Bob Grogan gets ready for his turn making glass
The previous day's haul warm from the kiln
The previous day’s haul warm from the kiln

This season was so incredibly encouraging on so many fronts.  It seemed that at every turn I kept meeting the most interesting and inspiring people all bent on helping support the studio in fascinating ways.  One customer showed her work to her co-workers after I met her during a break from her work.  In this case, she was a newscaster at a local television station, which garnered a short story about the studio on Christmas Eve telling about how we offer making your own ornament as a special during the holidays.  I was able to meet many other people who have in their own ways helped to spread the word and make a difference for  the studio.  And just so you know, this isn’t about me, but about all of the interesting and excited people who came to lend their smiles, their stories, and their time in helping make this event one of the single best events ever (and we have had many, so that is saying something!)

1077244_10151975502666859_568858359_o
Threading on cobalt glass to make a feather pattern

If you look back through the last few blog posts, you can begin to see some of the pieces that folks just like you, who have never blown glass before were able to make with a little help from a seasoned glass teacher and blower.  The results have all been fantastic!  Pictures from the weekend are sprinkled liberally throughout this latest edition of SAG on WordPress.  I have met inquisitive kids who talked about the chemistry of glass, who wondered about its long history, and who had interesting ideas about life, glass, and the pursuit of life’s simplest pleasures.  It has been a real interesting and rewarding time being able to share time with so many people who were all connected by their love or sheer curiosity about glass as an expressive medium.  When I think about the quality of experience, the caliber of people pulled in by the sheer gravity of glass and its beauty, I find myself hopeful about adding instruction at the studio as a key ingredient in just what it is that we do there.

The complete feathered piece up-close
The complete feathered piece up-close

We had a half price off sale where works went for a song and a second sale where pieces went for unheard of prices.  If you know what my seconds look like, you know that our seconds are first-rate pieces that maybe were a little too small or slightly off-center.  I talked to people about how they could design their own work for their homes, an opportunity that is unheard of in this age of the cheap mass-produced object.  Helping to bring the real back to life can also help to enliven the soul and stir the heart.  And THAT is not just a cheap throw-away but the honest truth.

John makes a paperweight at the reheating furnace
John makes a paperweight at the reheating furnace

For now, the pictures for this post are being worked on to ready them for the web.  In the days that follow you will begin to see images from this weekend that help to paint a picture of just what happened and what went on!  But to learn more check out this blogger who describes her experience in her recent post about her visit to the studio this weekend!

http://joansnaturejournal.blogspot.com/2014/01/stafford-art-glass-class.html?spref=fb

Closeup of sun catcher by Caroline Gaskins
Closeup of sun catcher by Caroline Gaskins
glassblowing

HoT GLass WeEkend! January 11-12


No Comments

Come help us make Stafford Art Glass sustainable into the new year!  With the popularity of our BYOB event this past Christmas, it’s decided that we will continue to offer another event so those who were too busy or did not notice in time, can take part.

The studio in Newport Virginia

Join us for a weekend of hot glass at the studio in Newport.  Located just ten minutes from Blacksburg on Route 460W, the studio is a gallery and hotshop all in one. It is also a place to learn how to make beautiful objects in glass.  At this event you have the opportunity to sign up for thirty-minute slots to make either a suncatcher or paperweight; a suncatcher takes half an hour, a paperweight takes about an hour.  Double up your thirty minute slots, back to back, so you can make a paperweight during this event!

Event runs January 11-12 10:00 a.m. – 8 p.m. each day.  Sign up for blowing slots by “liking” us on Facebook and messaging us what times work for you and what you plan on making.

We are also having a sale at the gallery that is 50% off wholesale pricing as well as a second sale of selected works from the production floor.  These are at unheard of prices.  One example is our Andromeda Geodes, a paperweight with a galaxy inside, which normally sell for up to $120.00 in galleries are as low as $18.00 at this event only.  People sometimes ask us why our Perfumer2seconds are priced as they are and its simple.  Our seconds never have ANY structural flaws.  No chips or cracks, only slight cosmetic flaws that keeps us from selling them as firsts.  Most people do not even recognize these “flaws” as flaws at all!  For example, pieces may be a slightly different size, or the design in the center might be slightly off-center, or the galaxy might not be perfectly symmetrical.  I know it’s a small thing, but our work has to be perfect, gallery ready, and our galleries want consistency as one smaller piece in a grouping might not sell as readily.  So we keep them and sell them at our studio!  This is an excellent opportunity to buy great work at unbelievable prices.  Perfume bottles for a song, all original made in our studio quality work!  Bowls, vases, paperweights, ornaments, suncatchers, and yard ornaments, pendant jewelry; it all goes for half off!

If you want to sign up to make something during the weekend, slots are reserved on a first come first served basis.  At this price, slots go very quickly and availability to limited!

Whether you plan on blowing glass or simply watching the fun ensue over the weekend and looking over our sale offerings, this is a great family friendly weekend!  For those who wish to blow glass we ask that you wear all cotton shirts, preferably with long sleeves when possible (we do have arm protectors) and sunglasses (we do have safety glasses that fit over regular glasses if needed).  No

A recent participant in our BYOB event in December making a suncatcher (hers is the red and pink piece directly above this image)
A recent participant in our BYOB event in December making a suncatcher

open toed shoes, and jeans are best.  Everyone has a different comfort and skill level and we adapt to your needs as a student.  We work as a team one-on-one to realize your glassy creations!  Work made must anneal in our kilns overnight for ornaments and 24 hours for paperweights. To keep things simple for us, we ask that you either respond to this post or respond on facebook and message us there so we can keep our scheduling quick and easy for all involved!  Thanks for your understanding!

For questions you can message us here or go onto our facebook page to find out more!https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stafford-Art-Glass/273860936858

glassblowing

Making Your Own Ornament – The “B.Y.O.B.” (Blow Your Ornament Ball) In 2013


3 Comments

early cup

It’s that time of year again!  If facing the gift giving season puts you in a state of angst, consider that there is a world out there where education and gift giving merge and you can let your hair down creatively and experience the ancient art of glassblowing for yourself.  That’s right.  Wouldn’t it be really cool to make your own ornament this Christmas?  Well, you can.  Here are the details:

From now until January 10th, you can blow your own ornament and you can lock in your savings by signing up by December 10th.

The regular retail price for blowing your own ornament is normally $47.00 but the promotional price for this deal is if you are an individual you  get it for $30.00.  If you bring a friend or are part of a group, you each can get the class for just $24.00.  Since the class is considered a service, it is not taxable in the state of Virginia.

shapingcopy

Who Can Participate?

The youngest student we have had for our annual BYOB event was five.  The oldest was 90.  The great thing about this class is that we can easily customize it to the age groups that are participating as well as the comfort zone of each person.  Don’t like really hot temperatures?  We can take the blow pipe and get the glass out of the furnace for you.  You can do as much or as little of the process as suits you.  Our five year old was more like a director who danced in the studio as she made her decisions about what colors I should add to her pieces and she was ready to blow the glass at the end, making each of the five ornaments she got to make that evening.  With this example, I hope I have provided you with an idea about just how flexible we are with our students.  You only do as much of what you feel comfortable doing and you get to be on the blowing floor designing and making your own glass creations!  To do this, its important to communicate first what you feel your capacity is for heat exposure and we adjust accordingly.  Is something too hot?  No worries!  With our glassblower shadowing you at each step along the way, help is just an arms length away!

How To Get Started

First, contact us for dates that are still available at our link below.  Our schedule of available dates is constantly changing and its important to get your appointment asap!  As a general guide times available for this event currently are:  MWF 10 am to 2 pm and then 6 pm to 9 pm.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are available 6 pm to 9 pm, and after December 15 our schedule opens up on Tuesdays and Thursdays so that both morning and afternoon & evening hours are available (same as for MWF times).  Weekends are available from 10 am until 9 pm.  We are not open on Christmas Day and New Years Eve and New Years Day.  To register for this promotional event, you need to go to FB and “like” us at the following link (clicking on the link will open a new tab/window in your browser) :

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stafford-Art-Glass/273860936858

Then, simply message us on Facebook about your preferred times and how many will be in your party who will be blowing glass and we will do the rest!

How Long Does It Take?

I schedule each ornament “class” in a half-hour cycle. A class is in truth one-on-one instruction so we can have as many or as few people signed up as you want!  Sometimes we get through much faster than just half an hour, but some people will need more time to make their delicious glass creation.  Also, your ornament has to go into a special cooling oven once it has been blown where it is available the following day. For those who are traveling a distance from the studio, shipping is available.  We have shipped all across the world and know how to get very delicate glass to its destination all in one piece.  Each piece is in its own gift box unless your piece is blown larger than our standard-sized ornament gift boxes in which case it is carefully wrapped in bubble wrap or foam to keep it safe for taking away.

Where Are You Located?

We are located at 8685 Virginia Avenue, Newport, Virginia 24128.  We are 13 miles from I-81 on Route 460W and are about 43 miles from Roanoke Virginia and 6.5 miles from Blacksburg, Virginia.  Contact Parker Stafford for detailed directions (through our FB page or at info@staffordartglass.com).  The studio is located directly on Route 460W so you can see us from the highway!

Studio 5
The Studio in Newport

What Do I Need To Wear?

We require that you wear only 100% cotton clothing.  Synthetics can break down from the brief exposures to heat and we just don’t like them.  So check your clothes; no cotton/synthetic blends either!  Do not wear open-toed shoes. Clothes should be comfortable to you, not too loose.  Wearing a T-shirt with a long-sleeved shirt over it is an EXCELLENT idea.  You can then adjust for heat while also wearing the long sleeved shirt to protect your arms against any radiant heat you might encounter.  Normally the studio does not get oppressively hot, but it can get warm and most normally the heat is experienced more as brief periods when heating the glass up for the next step.  Wear shoes that grip well and leather is best.

I Don’t Want To Make An Ornament – What Other Options Are There?

You could make a small suncatcher for the same price!  For $10.00 more, you can also make a superglobe which is a suncatcher that is approximately 10 inches in diameter with more color and opportunities for cool visual effects across its surface.  These make great display pieces in large windows, for example!  It takes a little more time to make a superglobe, so make sure we know you want to make one so we can schedule accordingly!

What Do I Need To Bring?

Bring yourself.  Bring your family!  But please, no clowns….we don’t like clowns….But seriously!  You are welcome to bring friends along to watch if you want.  Taking photos is encouraged.  We are family friendly and are happy to discuss glassblowing with you and how we make the things you see in the studio.  We provide you with safety glasses, gloves and even arm protectors if you need them.  Your price includes all materials and supplies and there are no add-ons either! Having something to drink afterwards is a good idea in order to stay hydrated.

While visiting our neck of the woods, we can suggest some really great restaurants in our area that have been been making the news where you can bask in your new-found creative spirit while eating good food.  We have a great sandwich place with a green twist (sustainability!) called Mikie’s 7th (closed on Sunday) which is just 2/10 of a mile from the studio as well as The Palisades (6 miles) in Eggleston and The Bank restaurant in Pearisburg.  These restaurants stand out from the crowd and are all locally owned and operated by locals who love to make really good healthy food (many things on their menus are locally sourced and even organic when they can!) There are other options available in the New River Valley including Blacksburg to our East and a number of other interesting places to see and food to eat!  Just let us know if you are interested in making some new discovery while you are visiting!

If you are coming from further afield, let us know how long you plan to stay and we can offer up suggestions for where to stay, what to see, what to eat, and where to go.  We have a couple of interesting covered bridges within minutes of the studio (who knew, right?), and some beautiful vistas we can point you to along with other places to visit.  Our region is host to more artists and artisans per capita than most localities in the state, so there are a lot of very interesting gift shops offering handmade items as well as cultural events that happen year round.  Stafford Artglass is part of the Giles County Artisan Trail network of  19 counties in Southwest Virginia that include studios, restaurants, farms, and galleries.  With so much here, let us know what we can do to help make your stay more interesting!

Happy Holidays and I hope to see you at the studio!

~Parker

Art and Design, glassblowing

The New Precious


5 Comments
©Parker Stafford
©Parker Stafford

Over the last few weeks  I have been busily working developing a new line of work. This work employs a process made popular by Louise Comfort Tiffany in the 1800’s called fuming or irridizing.  This process became a signature of the Tiffany style and has been repeated many times over because of its intense popularity.  I have always said that I would not fume my work, and quite recently I went back on that promise in order to investigate this method to see if I could create new interesting forms that break some new ground.

©Parker Stafford
©Parker Stafford

Doing that is not easy to do.  There is a lot that has been done…millions of processes and combinations….Some would say there is nothing new under the sun.  Perhaps it is true….until we actually come up with something new. To that end, I am giving it my all.

Yesterday I went into the studio with the intention of doing what I have always done in glass, which is to bring a

sculptural sense to my work and giving the forms a different kind of quality that sometimes departs from traditional vessel forms.

©Parker Stafford
©Parker Stafford

The forms I came up with were an effort to create seashell like forms with the abalone shell being one of the chief forms for inspiration.  I grew up on the beach as a child and can remember many small oblong and rippled shells that had beautiful mother of pearl interiors.  I am in truth recreating that moment of discovery on the beach some 45 years later with this body of work.

Shell Form 5 sized

What I am doing are making relatively small-scale pieces that I can control and work into shell inspired forms.  A lot of this has to do with making the pieces off-center and breaking a lot of the rules that make blowing glass feel comfortable and “right.”  So much of what we learn about glass blowing has to do with keeping a piece centered.  So much of what I am doing now is knowing how to let a piece drift of center in just the right way in order to develop a sense of asymmetry amidst the natural order that is symmetry.  The work is in its infancy and yet I have enough ideas and directions to keep me busy for a lifetime.  Lucky for me, I am impatient and like to try new things and make new work so I guess I am making work for someone else to do in another couple of lifetimes!Shell form 5 -b sized

I hope you enjoy looking at the pieces.  They change so much in light, as some versions of the same piece in this post reveal.

All of this is fun and exciting and there is so much more to do, to make and to explore and discover.  This really is the most interesting part of design work because everything is so new and the possibilities are endless.  The key to creative viability I think is remaining fresh and new.  As old lines of work are being retired in my studio work, new lines, like this one with a decidedly oceanic bent to them emerge.  The tide comes in, the tide goes out.  In the interim it leaves new treasures for us to see and explore….seashells and all manner of flotsam and jetsam to pick through….

©Parker Stafford
©Parker Stafford

If you like this work you can see more of the earliest work that was first done a few weeks ago in the post Breaking New Ground.  You can also see and interact on my facebook business page by typing in staffordartglass.

I hope everyone is having a great summer!

©Parker Stafford
©Parker Stafford