I adore glass art, glass plates, crystal stemware (etched, coloured and otherwise) glass sculpture, Depression glass, Milk glass, etched and beveled glass windows, stained glass, antique glass, glass walls…you get the picture. So I could not say no to the invitation to visit the studio of glass artist Jeff Goodman.
The designated day in August was meltingly hot. But the exterior temperature was nothing compared to the soupy heat inside the building. Entering it, and getting close to the heat sources Goodman uses to make his wares, was like walking into a liquid wall of heat.
But if Goodman and his team can do it every day, I reckoned I could stand it for 30 minutes or so. And besides, I was dying to take him up on his offer of showing me how to make a glass paperweight. Of course, my paperweight is to Goodman’s work as peanut butter is to pate de foie gras, but it was fun to give it a try. It does, however, occupy a place of honour on my desk, to remind me of the power and beauty of that which we can create with our own hands. See my weekly Hot Home products column for more on Goodman, who also makes vessels, vases, chandeliers, and other commissioned pieces. Pics of his astonishingly beautiful work can be seen above and below.
For an excellent demonstration of glass blowing, click here – for a link to a video made by the Cornell Museum of Glass I did not actually blow the glass, since I’d probably need several years of instruction before being ready to do so. But I did get a sense of what a miraculous material glass is, and marveled at how in its liquid form it’s so malleable (and mercurial), while it’s solid form is so, well, solid.
If you’d like to see glass blowing in action, you can sometimes watch glass artists working at the Craft Studio at Harbourfront. Perhaps, like me, you’ll marvel at the alchemy that turns a few simple elements into pieces of exquisite beauty.