[PA-NJ Glassblowers] WATCH: Here's how glass is made at WheatonArts (Skitch Manion)

Tony Patti gaffer at glassblower.info
Wed Jul 26 22:44:01 EDT 2017





Published yesterday July 25, 2017


By  <http://connect.nj.com/staff/j_decker/posts.html> Justin Decker

For NJ.com


 <http://www.nj.com/cumberland/> MILLVILLE - Bathed in the orange glow of
open furnaces and molten glass, Skitch Manion, the glass studio manager at
the Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center, works with his team to create
something beautiful. Not for themselves, but for other artists.


The temperature is well above 80 degrees in the studio, but Manion and his
fellow craftsman work though the heat spinning amber-colored glass on punty
rods in their hands.

The studio recently finished work on a contemporary art exhibition titled
"Emanation 2017" in early June. They created several glass pieces in
collaboration with outside artists with Manion working as the gaffer for the

"We happen to be good at making glass, and developing the product of glass,
but it's not really about that," said Hank Adams, creative director of the
glass studio "It's about facilitating these artists to make an interesting
discovery of creativity with glass."

The process for creating most glass pieces begins with a dab of molten
glass, a punty rod and an idea.

When Manion or another glass blower works on a project, they must constantly
spin the molten glass on the rod to prevent it from sagging to one side then

"You can pick any piece out of the museum I did for the Emanation show and I
probably made it several times," said Manion, who helped facilitate most of
the projects for the show.

The blowers will often reheat their projects through a process called
"flashing" where they put their piece into a glory hole and reheat the glass
to better mold it.

Shaping the glass can be done using multiple tools and methods, but one of
the most modern pieces of sculpting technology is several layers of

"It helps get as close to hand molding the piece as we can," Manion said. 
"It's only been around for the last 300 years or so."

Sometimes the sculptors will add different layers of glass onto their
projects, such as a handle on a glass jug or a rim to a vase. 

Once the piece is finished being molded it is placed in a kiln to cool down
over a period sometimes taking several days. Then it is ready to either be
painted or immediately put on display.

"Glass is a great teaching tool because it requires you to focus," said
Manion. "It's not going to let you disrespect it or come at it haphazardly.
You really need to think about it." 

Justin Decker may be reached at  <mailto:jdecker at njadvancemedia.com>
jdecker at njadvancemedia.com. Follow Justin Decker on Twitter
<https://twitter.com/Justin_A_Decker> @Justin_A_Decker. Find
<https://www.facebook.com/NJ.com> NJ.com on Facebook.




Tony Patti

gaffer at glassblower.info


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