Tag Archives: Hot Shop

Five Minutes with David Huchthausen

David Huchthausen is renowned for his use of cold-working techniques in glass, currently demonstrated in his exhibition, David Huchthausen: A Retrospective Selection. This week, however, Huchthausen will return to working with hot glass as the Visiting Artist in the Museum’s Hot Shop.

David Huchthausen in his retrospective exhibition.

David Huchthausen in his retrospective exhibition.

I began focusing on cold working glass when…

I had always been interested in light transmission in architecture and think very three-dimensionally. After blowing glass for a few years, the limitations of the process became apparent and I began to combine hot-worked components with architectural glass in my sculptures.

My pieces are inspired by…

Science and science fiction, architecture, space exploration, and optics.

When I’m not in the studio working, I am…

Either out on my boat or at an antique show.

During my residency, I hope to demonstrate to Museum visitors…

I have not worked with hot glass for 35 years, but I intend to create experimental work during the residency, some of which will be based on my current work with the spheres. I also have plans for a group of vessels with floating figures, which expand on a direction I pursued back in the mid 1970s.

David Huchthausen (American, born 1951). Sphere 3, 2010. Cut, laminated, and optically polished glass. 12 inches. Collection of the artist. Photo by Lloyd Shugart.

David Huchthausen (American, born 1951). Sphere 3, 2010. Cut, laminated, and optically polished glass. 12 inches. Collection of the artist. Photo by Lloyd Shugart.

If I wasn’t an artist, I would be…

Possibly an architect or a museum curator.

Plan a visit to Museum of Glass to see Visiting Artist David Huchthausen working in the Hot Shop from October 12 through 16, or watch his residency online.

Five Minutes with Simone Fezer

Every year, Museum of Glass invites artists to apply for a Visiting Artist Residency in the Museum of Glass Hot Shop. These residencies allow artists to explore new techniques or continue a current series with the assistance of the Museum’s Hot Shop Team.

Approximately four applicants receive residencies every year, and this year Simone Fezer from Stuttgart, Germany, is one of MOG’s Application Visiting Artists.

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Photo courtesy of Simone Fezer.

MOG caught up with Fezer before her residency this week.

I applied for a Visiting Artist Residency at Museum of Glass because…

I love traveling and working with people all over the world because that’s how you really get to enter the places you’re going to. Plus, of course, it’s a great opportunity! To be given the chance to work with a larger and skilled team is a luxury, and allows me to develop my work without the economic pressure of having to succeed at all costs.

The thing I enjoy most about working in glass is…

The different levels. I love making glass, love the physical process and the challenge, love being in the moment, dancing…Then I love the many facets of glass, its different aspects: reflecting, altering, breaking and transmitting light, its fragility and translucency, its fluidity and rigidity, its many implications as a vessel, a lense, a window, a container…

Simone Fezer. Dryad, 2013. Free-sculpted and blown glass, assembled hot. 25 x 20 x 30 cm. Photo by Jeroen Kuiper. Courtesy of the artist.

Simone Fezer. Dryad, 2013. Free-sculpted and blown glass, assembled hot. 25 x 20 x 30 cm. Photo by Jeroen Kuiper. Courtesy of the artist.

When I am not working, I am…

Outside.

If I wasn’t working with glass, I would work with…

Iron and steel, textiles and wood. As I actually am.

During my residency, I plan to…

Explore and have fun, try out things, push the boundaries…

Plan a visit to Museum of Glass to see Visiting Artist Simone Fezer working in the Hot Shop from October 5 through 9, or watch her residency online.

Five Minutes with Claire Cowie

Inspired by man-made cairns found in the great outdoors, artist Claire Cowie has been creating sculptures, based on these landmarks, out of papier-mâché, carved foam, urethane resin, wood, and more. During her Visiting Artist Residency at Museum of Glass, she plans to continue this series of cairns by incorporating glass into her sculptures.

Take five minutes to learn a little more about our Visiting Artist and what she hopes to accomplish at Museum of Glass!

I began making sculptures based on cairns…

After a family reunion trip to Kiawah Island, SC, a few years ago. My family has always hiked and my parents are great discoverers of all kinds of landmarks in the natural world. I have been thinking about using cairns as a psychological marker as well as a locator of pathways.

When I need inspiration for my work I…

Look to my sketchbooks. My biggest problem is really more about focusing and choosing what to resolve. I usually have too many scattered thoughts and I’m so interested in process that my challenges are with resolution and editing rather than inspiration.

My favorite material to work with is…

So many it’s hard to pick a favorite! Nothing beats pencils, pens, and paper. But I also really love learning about new materials. Anything that gets my hands dirty.

During my Museum of Glass residency I hope to…

Build on what I recently worked on at Pilchuck Glass School. I’d like to make some pieces that use color, texture, and asymmetry. These will be elements in mixed-media sculptures that I’ll continue to develop in the up-coming year. I have also been making some glass pieces based on plant dissections, and I’d love to see how some of those would be interpreted in this situation. I recently got to be an artist-in-residence in the Nemhauser Biology Lab at the University of Washington and I like the similarity of the fish-out-of-water state that both residencies provides as well as the notion of translating concepts through another person.

When I’m not working, I am…

Biking, hiking, camping, swimming in Lake Washington, reading, and crafting with my daughter.

Plan a visit to Museum of Glass to see Visiting Artist Claire Cowie working from June 29 through July 3, or watch her residency online.

Five Minutes with Ann Gardner

Catch up with Visiting Artist Ann Gardner before her second residency at Museum of Glass!

Ann Gardner working on the Long Day/Long Night installation for the Fairbanks International Airport, Alaska.

Ann Gardner working on the Long Day/Long Night installation for the Fairbanks International Airport, Alaska.

The last time I worked with hot glass was…

My last residency at MOG, so that was around 10 years ago. It was great and I am looking forward this week.

During my Museum of Glass residency I plan to…

Experiment with breath, using blown glass as a barrier to breath. I am asking the blowers to blow organic shapes, a little off center, exploring how to do this to create unusual off-centered shapes. We will be experimenting—I’m excited.

I am inspired by…

Materials, ideas, trying new things, and the natural world and beauty. Honest work, whatever the medium.

If I wasn’t working in glass, I would…

Probably be painting, however, I always told my husband If I wasn’t an artist I would be a detective, so who knows.

Plan a visit to Museum of Glass to see Visiting Artist Ann Gardner working from June 29 through July 3, or watch her residency online.

Care and Feeding of the Glass Furnace

By Greg Owen, Manager of Audience Engagement and Hot Shop Heroes 

The artists that work in the Museum of Glass Hot Shop require fresh, hot glass, which is free from imperfections, in order to realize their creations. It is the responsibility of the Museum’s Hot Shop technicians to keep the furnaces filled up and in good working order. The two furnaces at Museum of Glass have 1,000-pound appetites, and they need to be fed fairly often. The furnaces also live fast and die young; burning at 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit, 24 hours a day, for years at a time is a rough life. They eventually deteriorate and have to be rebuilt, which is an expensive and time-consuming process. Melting beautiful glass is a balance between speed and quality, with the quality of the glass being the most important consideration.

Loading glass into the furnaces is called charging the furnace, and today we are going to take a look at technician Trenton Quiocho charging our day tank. Commercially available glass comes in one of two ways: in its raw, un-melted form, which is called batch, or as chunks of glass which have already been melted once, which is called cullet. Trenton begins the charging process by turning the furnace up to 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 160 degrees hotter than the furnace usually runs. While the furnace warms up, Trenton opens up bags of nuggets and loads them into specially designed charging trolleys.

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The nuggets are rinsed off with a hose to remove any dust or impurities, which may contaminate the glass, and then wheeled over to the furnace. Some people pre-heat their glass in an oven before charging it, especially if they are using batch in a very wet climate. The charging process is a strain on the furnace. It is asked to run significantly hotter than it usually does, which causes the materials used to build the furnace to break down faster than they would otherwise. Charging is a scientific process of trying to get the highest quality of glass possible, in the shortest possible time, with the least amount of stress on the furnace.

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Once the furnace is hot enough, Trenton will open the door and begin to dump glass into the furnace, being careful not to spill any glass on the area where you rest your blowpipe, called the sill. Two bags of nuggets totals 100 pounds of glass, and that is enough for one charge. You don’t want to put too much glass in at once, or the cold glass at the bottom of the pile will take too long to melt. Achieving an even, consistent melt is very important for the quality of the glass, so Trenton will use a metal rake to spread the cullet out over the surface of the glass that is already melted.

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100 pounds of cullet will take an hour or so to melt, so Trenton will peek into the furnace from time to time to see how it’s doing. Once all the cold glass is completely melted, the next charge will be thrown on top. This process is then repeated throughout the day until the furnace is filled up to (but not over) the sill. When the furnace is filled completely, the temperature will be adjusted in order to bring the glass back to a good working consistency. (If the glass stayed at melting temperature, it would be so runny that it would be difficult to gather it up on the end of a blowpipe, but perfect for ladling glass into open face molds.) Unwanted bubbles are often the enemy of many glassblowers, and if there are a lot of bubbles in a fresh charge, then a squeeze is required. Squeezing the furnace is a way to push all the bubbles to the surface of the glass, so they can pop and disappear. It is achieved by lowering the temperature of the furnace so that the glass starts to shrink, and pushes the bubbles out.

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You can see that quite a bit of work and thought goes into charging our furnaces at Museum of Glass. Lead technician Nick Davis and technician Trenton Quiocho work tirelessly behind the scenes in order to provide an exceptional experience for our artists and visitors.

Now when you visit Museum of Glass, you’ll know just how much our technicians do to keep the Hot Shop running!

Greg Owen is the Manager of Audience Engagement and Hot Shop Heroes at Museum of Glass. Greg can be seen working the mic as the Hot Shop studio emcee, assisting Visiting Artists, and teaching soldiers how to blow glass during Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire classes.