Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Change of schedule

Today was a pleasant surprise in that we got to the go work in the hot shop in the factory! No offense to people who like cold glass techniques but hot glass is where its at! We were with two male teachers named Stig Allen, he is the crazy old guy in charge, and another named Micke (like Mickey) who is from Denmark but has taught here for a long time.  They both speak half swedish and half english... everyone here calls it Swinglish.

The had us just familiarize ourselves today with the shop, the glass and get our fingers working again.  It has been ages since I have blown anything so it was pretty fun to be doing it again.  Still really hot! We just made bubbles and small vases and little random things.  They did not have the glory holes (where you reheat the glass to keep working on it) working yet so we couldn't do a whole lot or save anything.  That is OK though, I didn't make anything worth saving!  The glass here is different, SUPER clear and holds heat for a long time. They refer to it as crystal because it is so clear and clean looking.  We also met some more students who are in the Nordic program and some of them have worked with glass for years and some have hardly worked at all. Also, the new gymnasium (high school age) students got to work with glass for the first time and see us working some.  Maybe now my roommates (the 16 yr old girls who are really shy around me and wont speak much english) will have a little more respect for my skills and the fact that I am not just a lame American that can't understand what they say.  Probably not.

After lunch we went back to the cold shop where we worked with Rebecca (my advisor from New Zealand) again and did more engraving, sandblasting and shaping.  She also said she would be happy to snap a few pics of me working to show you guys!  I did some sandblasting where I first drew on the glass with glue, similar to Elmer's Glue, and then blasted it and peeled off the glue.  The effect was really cool and here are some examples:

^These are different flowers around the glass and some butterflies.
(no more signing plats and site plans... onto GLASS^)
And here is some of the engraving I did, it is hard to photograph since you can see through it, but I tried!

Some people also worked on making beads which I will do tomorrow I think.  That is done with some small flame torches sitting at a table.  Maybe I can make some cool necklaces or beads for Mamma to make cool jewelry with!  I had a little meeting with my advisor to discuss the things I want to learn when I am here, as she called it "my dreams and schemes."  I mentioned goblets and swedish techniques that I can't remember the name of or find them on google! Sheesh I am not doing a very good job here...  they are called something like graff and raven maybe.  But they involve both cold and hot techniques and are REALLY cool, also working with some cane to make cool stripes and bubbles in the glass.  And Orrefors is very famous for their crystal so I want to learn to cut that... "when in Rome."  I said that I also want to dabble a little in everything, the engraving techniques and stuff like that just to try everything and see if anything seems really cool and I want to try more of it.  I am really optimistic about the year!

The weather here is kind of crap.  Apparently normal Swedish autumn, rain and wind and then bright sun but mostly rain and wind.  I had to break out my black winter coat last night! It is about 60F during the day and 50-something Fahrenheit during the night... it is going to get a lot colder!  But that is OK I will have my own sunshine, the furnaces and glory holes.

Tonight there is talk of a party upstairs which should be entertaining.  I can't believe it is Wednesday already!! I am exhausted though and feel like I have been here for a long time already! I have noticed that I walk around with a big goofy grin on my face all the time, say HI to everyone (even strangers walking their dogs on the street) and bounce from room to room... I think maybe people are going to start thinking there is something wrong with me... or maybe most new students act like that and all of the locals think we are all crazy?  I guess I can always blame it on being a silly American... except there are 2 really low key guys here from America and they do actually think I am crazy I think... oh well.

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