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Last week was my last week at Nottingham, when I arrived Mike had informed me that him and Gina were splitting up and the shop would probably be closing. That day Mike didn’t have anything for me to do because he was busy with other things. However there were some renters there so I spent sometime watching them.

Overall my experience at Nottingham wasn’t what I expected. When I first started this internship I was excited that I was going to have more time working with glass. I thought I would be taught technique and different methods of color, but this experience was more about maintaining a shop. This is also very important, if I want to have my own shop I will need to know how to keep it running. I learned how to care for many of different tools from hot shop to the cold shop. I did a lot of cleaning and organizing of the hot shop. While performing all the shop maintenance duties I was still able to observe and learn about different methods.

By meeting Mike and Gina I was also able to meet other glass blowers in the local community and took advantage of what they had to offer me. For instance I asked one successful couple if I could take them out to dinner and ask them questions of how they got started and what is important for me to know when opening my own studio. We met for dinner earlier this week down in Old Town, CA. It was such a great experience and a valuable contact. They gave me plenty of information on where I need to be to get started. We talked for over three hours. They also gave me other local artist to talk to they said to gather information from others and once you have all the information on how others make profit you will better know what will work best for me. I have made contact with two of the recommended people to talk to and look forward to meeting with them. Having this meeting is a great contact to always refer back to if I need help. I feel that making these types of contacts was the most beneficial aspect from my internship experience.

In conclusion, I am thankful to have had this experience. In January of 2013 I am going to Hong Kong to study abroad. The classes I will be taking there are glass blowing and glass casting. I feel that this internship has helped me to be better prepared for my experience abroad. I am also thankful for all the contacts I have made locally and look forward to starting my own studio when I graduate. I feel that the people I have met during this experience will help me achieve my goal of having my own glass blowing studio soon.

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Nottingham

I know that I haven’t kept up on my status working at Nottingham lately, but I have been busy working there and with the past holiday. Most recently I have been working with Mike and Gina pulling cane. In order to pull cane a lot of prep time goes into it. Cane is a long slender tube of glass that contains a design or an overlap of colors. If the design is created using a number of different methods to complete the design or color overlay. After the wanted effect of the arrangement is completed the design or color combination is completely submerged in clear glass. After the glass is formed into the proper shape the glass is then heated to an extreme temperature so that the glass can be pulled thin. The end of the glass is grabbed with the diamond jacks and the other end of the rod is lifted into the air by a pulley system the glass is the cooled with air once it is the desired thickness. After these long slender tubes are cooled they are then cut into marine and cane that are used as color and decoration in other pieces.
I have also begun to assist Mike in blowing by doing beginner stuff like open the doors to the glory hole, and flash pieces. I also assist with using tools to protect him from the heat while working on a piece. When the pipe get to hot I take it to the pipe cooler. While doing all this I still continue clean and upkeep the shop. I am very interested and enjoy the time and knowledge I have gained during my time at Nottingham however I am looking forward and want more hands on time with glass blowing.

Nottingham

This week at Nottingham Michael and Gina had me doing some random work such as cleaning the shop, folding papers for shapers, and inventory. I constantly watch both them blow glass while I do shop work. This week after they were done blowing they had a little time show me how to make perfume bottles.
First Michael showed me how to make a small vessel, after you turn the piece around he showed me how to pull the neck out so that it long and slender so that the stopper will fit in tight. After the vessel is cooled it needs some work in the cold shop, the bottom and top are grinded to a clear polish.
Next, Gina showed me how to make the top stopper. First take a small gather of glass about an inch off the pipe. Then do once over on the marver to make a cylinder shape. Next set it on the bench and let gravity pull the glass downward. Gravity makes the cylinder naturally turn into a teardrop shape with a long stem. Later in the cold shop after the glass is chilled, they are fitted with the appropriate bottle and cut to the right length. Next the bottle is filled with a fine sand and water mix then the topper is placed inside. The bottle is then turned upside down and the toper is turned, with the solution the topper and bottle are sanded together to create a air tight seal. The vessel is then cleaned and ready for sale.

Nottingham

This week Michael and Gina were up North all week, and I wasn’t able to work at the studio. They go up North to help with harvest as an extra income to their glass blowing business. While they were gone I kept up my interest in glass blowing. During my free time I went to Palomar to watch the students at the glass blowing studio. This was a learning experience in its self. It was very interesting to watch different people blow glass. Everyone has their own technique and style of glass they blow. For me it gave me different ideas of colors and shapes to use in my own glass blowing. When Michael and Gina return I will continue to go and watch for further inspiration.

Nottingham

This last week at Nottingham Mike and Gina were working on products for holiday sale. One of their biggest profits is from holiday and fall local art fairs. Mainly at these fairs they sell smaller items such as perfume bottles, ornaments and small tumblers.

While they were working on product they had me clean the cold shop. The cold shop is used to do the finishing touches on glass pieces. In the cold shop there are tools such as sand grinder, belt polishers, and wet saws. I cleaned out all the odd glass pieces that were scattered through the shop wrapping and packing them. Next, I cleaned out all the water from the wet saws. Finally I organized materials, swept, and hosed down the shop.

After that I cut mariny and cane. Mariny and cane are used as color and in other products and are made with different patterns. Mike and Gina make their own cane and mariny. For this process they combine different colors and pull the glass into long skinny pieces. After the long pieces are cooled they need to be cut to the appropriate length. To cut the glass you use glass cutters, they look like pliers with wheels at the end that cut the glass. Cane is cut to the length of about 1-3 inches this is because the pattern is length wise. Mariny is cut small with the measurement of about ¼ inch this is because the pattern is in the center on the circle. After these are cut Gina uses these for color in the holiday tumblers.

Nottingham

This week in glass blowing I spent time watching other people than Mike and Gina blow glass, as extra income they rent studio time to others. During this time I was able to talk with other artist about how they became glassblowers and what type of glass they specifically sell.  I meet this really nice lady named Dian that has her own studio in OldTown. She was up renting studio time because her furnace was broken. It was a coincidence that she was there because I had met her before I moved to California and talked to her about glass blowing. She is successful glass blower that makes a living from designing high end glass lamps for residential and commercial. I was talking to her about my dreams and goals of having my own studio; she offered that when I was ready to start setting up that her and her husband would be more than happy to assist me with that task. Since I have seen her at Nottingham I have been down to her studio to keep the connection and show my interest in her work. It’s a nice feeling to know that someone else believes in what you are doing and is willing to share their knowledge with me.

 

Continuing I was able to rent some studio time my self this week. The shift started off kind of rocky. I was unable to transfer a blown piece to the punty to turn it around and open the lip up. After many of pieces shattering on the ground Gina offered to assist me and give me advice along the way. She gave me some helpful advice also on how to blow the piece thinner by cooling the bottom portion of the glass and keeping the top hot so the sides will blow out. She also showed me how once the piece was turned around how trim the lip if the piece was still too thick. Once the piece is turned around heat the opening so you are able to tweeze the glass out towards the center and if the glass is still hot use the shires to trim the remaining. If the glass has become to cool reheat then use the sheers. During my studio time I was unable finish any pieces, however I did learn a lot to be  more successful next time.

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Nottingham

I worked three days at the studio this week. First, I helped clean the entire place to get ready for filming of Michael and Gina blowing glass for a documentary. Cleaning the shop consisted of picking up tools, sweeping, and organizing materials. They both wanted the shop to look presentable for film.

Next day the studio was rented out to other glass blowers. This day was a good observant day I watch other people’s techniques and style. I learned that everyone does stuff different. These people hand completely different benches, tools, and color set ups than I was use to seeing.  They also specialized in lamps where Michael and Gina do more of sculptures.

The third day I was able to have some of my own studio time. During this time Gina assisted me with basic techniques to improve my glass blowing.  She showed me how to blow a fast even bubble by controlling the temperature at the bottom of the bubble.

Another thing that I learned this week is they used a pulley system to pull cane, the pipe with glass was attached to a pulley that was then lifted up toward the ceiling while the glass stretched downward. This method seemed better than stretching it across the studio.

Also I learned that Michael made all of the equipment in the shop lowering the cost to own a studio.