Here I am on the first step, heating the rod in the glory hole.
The rod needs to be hot to pick up the molten glass.
The socks you see on my arms, work as a protection against
the heat when I am collecting glass from the crucible. It gets
pretty darn hot so these are definetly a must!
Now back into the glory hole to melt in her colors! I work very
hot! When I in the middle of creating a piece I don't realize
how hot I really am until I are finished....I drink LOTS of water
to keep hydrated while I work.
Once the frit is melted in, it is over to the bench. I have
to constantly keep spinning my rod so the glass will not
drip off or droop. I am using some wet newspaper here
to get a nice round tip before I will go in for another
glass gather.
Once I have my final gather of glass on my piece it
is time to start forming the rim where I will break off
my piece, which will become the base of the
The tool I am using is called a "jack" and hence
this  process is called"jacking".
Come along with me in the process of hand making a paperweight!
Here are all of the paperweights I made in my 6 week course!
Just click on each picture to view a closeup on each creation.
"Deep Sea"
"Middle Earth"
Not a good shot, but at least you can get the idea of
what I am doing. This is my first gather of glass from
the crucible. The crucibles are kept at over 2000
degrees, I don't want any of that glass dripping on me!
After placing the rod into the glass and gathering a
small amount at the tip of the rod, I have to pull it out
quickly and spin, spin, spin the rod to break off the
stream of glass.
Now for the fun part, adding designs and color! Here I
am picking up some frit(broken glass) from the pie tins.
I am adding some shards of glass to the tip
of the design. I place these on a hot plate to
keep the shards hot so they will not shatter
when I stick the molten glass on it.
Going back into the crucible for my last gather of glass.
You can see one of my class mates lifting the lid, there is
a lot of teamwork going on to make these larger pieces.
Doing some marvering after my last gather to get a better shape
before I will go to the bench to start shaping with the tools.
From this point on I go back and forth from the glory hole and the
bench to work the shape into a nice round ball. I am holding my
piece at a slight angle to let the shape come back on itself and
become more rounded before I will start using the tools again.
This wooden like spoon tool is called a "block".
I have to keep dipping it into the water to keep it cool, as
I am using it to shape the top part of the paperweight to
get a nice smooth form.
Once the paperweight has the desired shape I
let it cool down a bit and re-define the jack
mark. I am using a common butter knife. This
also chills the area around the rim where I
want the piece to crack off into the kiln, and
hopefully make a nice clean break! :o)
Then my paperweight goes into the kiln for
"Fuschia Fantasy"
"Moon Whispers"
"Whispering Nebula"
"Saturn Swirls"
"Blue Yonder"
"Ruby June"
"Vortex Dreams"
"Under the Rainbow"
"Coral Reef"
"Copper Canyon"
"Sand and Spirit"
"Treasure Chest"
"Island Rivers"