A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit London Glassblowing to sit and watch some demonstrations. Headed up by Peter Layton, and near London Bridge station, this is a fantastic place to go and spend an hour (or three!).
They have exhibitions and the glassblowing area is open plan and has a few seats, so you can sit and watch them making or wander around the showroom.
On the day I went they were making these:
You start with a small blob of molten glass. Sometimes this is a block of coloured glass which has been pre-heated in a kiln ... then you build it up with various layers of glass and blow down the hollow pipe so it expands and turns into a vessel rather than a paperweight!
Sometimes you even swing it round in circles! This helps to stretch the glass into a taller shape.
This is a wooden block which enables the glass to be shaped into an oval ... the surface chars under the heat of the molten glass and gives it a beautiful smooth surface.
I also got to watch Ant Scala working on some glass fruit with applied silver leaf, and he gave me some really helpful tips for my future work. Thanks Ant!
Their website is here: http://www.londonglassblowing.co.uk/
I was also very lucky to have the opportunity to chat to the very talented Layne Rowe, who had an exhibition on at the time I visited.
His latest work is stunning, using a clear glass base covered in bars of hand made multi-layer glass cane, coldworked and fire polished to produce these amazing layered effects. So inspiring!
His website is here: http://layneroweglass.co.uk/
and you can also see a video of him talking about his work on the London Glassblowing Facebook page. Well worth a look!
PS This is just down the road from the Fashion & Textile Museum, so why not visit both on the same day!