Holiday Party Surprise Adventure

Holiday Party1 Every year, Jinny gathers the entire staff together for a holiday party early in January.  Sometimes we know what is going to happen and sometimes it is a big surprise.  A surprise is what we had this year.

In December, Jinny was invited to a holiday show by her friend, and potter, Laura Nichols. Laura invited various artists to set up a booth in her old house. It was there that Jinny met Foster Holcombe who had several pieces of his glass displayed. He was telling someone about the workshops he does and was explaining how he gets the different colors of glass, etc. It was then that Jinny started hatching her plan.

Holiday Party2Jinny told us a date, that we were going to brunch which would include our traditional white elephant swap, followed by an activity which required us to plan our wardrobe around only natural fiber clothing. I will admit that this caution immediately clued in one staffer but the rest were truly puzzled not just by what our activity would be but what to wear.  There are a lot of manmade fibers in women’s clothing.

Meeting at the Studio, we divided ourselves up into cars with only directions to our first stop which turned out to be the Old Angler’s Inn.

Holiday Party3The restaurant dates back to the 1860’s and is just across the street from the scenic C&O Canal. We all enjoyed our brunch and the white elephant swap was filled with some truly bizarre gifts.

Holiday Party4-1Holiday Party5-1After brunch, we were once again given directions with just the address of our destination.  We took back roads to our final stop, the Art of Fire studio in Laytonsville, Maryland.

Holiday Party19Foster and his wife Theda welcomed us into their barn and told us we would be taking a glassblowing workshop.

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Holiday Party8We selected the color and style of ornament we wanted to make and went right to work either with Foster or Josh.  We were all fascinated.

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Holiday Party10First, our instructor would reach into the furnace with a four-foot long hollow tube called a blowing iron.  It is 2400° in the “glory hole” and when the blowing iron is removed there is glowing molten glass on the end.

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Holiday Party12The glass makes several trips in and out of the furnace and in between color is added, it is placed in molds, blown and shaped.

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Holiday Party15Finally, the piece is cut from the iron and a hook made of molten glass is formed.

Holiday Party22It is immediately placed into the annealer which is a mere 1000° and where it will slowly cool overnight.

Holiday Party17We all had a fabulous time spending the day together and getting to experience the workings of a different kind of studio.   Thanks Jinny!

 

***As this blog was being published, our finished pieces arrived at the shop – aren’t they all so different?

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