Friday, January 25, 2013

Local Arts: The Franklin Glassblowing Studio

On Monday Paul and I took a glass blowing class at the Franklin Glassblowing Studio. We love taking all sorts of local art classes whenever we can. We have done a few cooking and painting classes, and even a stained glass window class. But we have never done something like this before, so when I saw that there were glass blowing classes close by, I signed us up! 

The Franklin Glassblowing Studio is a great little gem in the heart of Franklin Tn. It is run by José Santisteban. He has been a glass sculptor for many years, and has just recently started to offer classes. 

 These are just some of the work for sale at the studio. Every piece is one of a kind, and all of them are very beautiful. All the different color combinations are amazing!

 This is the oven that is used in the heating process. This thing was about a million degrees!! I could not believe how incredibly hot this thing was. And we were about to be standing in front of it sculpting molten hot glass. And after a quick demonstration the class was under way!
 I was a little apprehensive about the whole process, so I asked Paul to go first. I'm no stranger to burning myself by accident, so I wanted to make sure I was okay with all the steps involved before it was my turn.
Paul blowing air into the molten glass to shape it. This apart was really hard to do! We had to wear heat resistant arm guards so we would't get burned. I was prepared to wear a welding mask after watching this!!
 José showed us how to use the steel table to shape the glass and add a swirling effect to the colors.
 After shaping the 1st layer we added another layer of clear glass over it. This lets more light through the finished piece. Here is José clipping off the excess! This was amazing to watch! I can't believe how easily José was able to handle the molten glass!
 Paul posing with the Jacks (a shaping tool used in the sculpting process.)
 This part was really cool to watch! While José blew more air into the Punties Paul shaped the top of the glass orb with the Jacks.
 This was Paul's final piece! They have to cool down and dry in a special kiln for about 18 hours before they are safe to handle.
 José then added a loop of glass on the top so that it will be easier to hang when its ready.
 Next it was my turn! I was still a little worried about getting burned, but I was excited about getting started. Here José is helping me add crushed colored glass to my piece. He had to help me because I could not lift the Punties by myself! That thing was really heavy! And you have to hold it from the opposite end so you wont get burned.
 My glass orb after adding color!
 Back in the oven!!
 Time for a little shaping! Mine started to get a little wonky in the middle, so I had to do some adjusting.
 Using the Jacks to knock the orb off of the Punties. This Part was a little scary! You have to hit it pretty hard for it to break off. I was afraid that the whole thing would break! But it turned out just fine!
  José added a loop to mine as well! The swirling colors are so pretty!

We had such a good time taking the glass blowing class! And I can't wait to pick up our glass orbs on Saturday! I promise I'll share pictures of how they turned out. Have you taken an art/craft classes lately? What did you make? Any favorite or least favorite projects? Share with us in the comments below!


  1. This is so cool!!! It looks fun. I've never done anything like this before. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Absolutely! We picked up finished orbs on Saturday, so I will be sharing more pictures soon. They turned out so well!!