Joe's Job: Glass Blower

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by Joe Flanagan, 13News

WVEC.com

Posted on May 8, 2013 at 5:39 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 8 at 5:50 PM

NORFOLK--Glass blowing is a job that's been around since the Roman Empire. It takes silica sand, lime, soda ash and a lot of hot air in a 2,150 degree furnace to make the beautiful creations.

Robin Rogers is the assistant manager at Chrysler Museum Glass Studio and says the ancient Romans developed the blow pipe in 50 BC.  

"It's design has not changed in that time. The process of working together, the design of the other hand tools, it's all very similar to how it was thousands of years ago," said Rogers.

The central furnace stays on all the time at the Chrysler Glass Studio and holds the molten glass. Three other reheating chambers or "glory holes" are used to reheat pieces being worked.

Joe started by watering down his blow pipe.  "Go ahead and blow," said Rogers. But Joe blew too much and it popped. 

As Joe looked around the studio at the glass blowing pieces, he said they were amazing and intimidating.

"It definitely takes a lot of practice. Okay, you got it... you're turning... nice. You got it, there .  There you go. And when it's off center you can stop and let if fall. Good," Rogers said, as she coached Joe through the delicate process.

Each day at the glass studio, pieces evolve and come to life during demonstrations which are free and open to the public.

Rogers has worked on sculptures that take six to seven hours.

"To be a good glass blower, it really takes someone who is a really good team player. Because as you see, there is a lot of teamwork, there is a lot of trust, there's a lot of letting go," said Rogers.

So how would Joe Flanagan do as a glass blower?

"Um, I'd give you a few days, I think you'd do quite well. It just takes practice," said Rogers.

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