Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Glassblowing in Bristol

I have been bought for my birthday a voucher for a trip to Bristol Blue Glass to try out glassblowing.

Unfortunately the voucher company 'Go Vouchers' went bust last April and hadn't paid the glass company.

Still, my hubby wanted me to go (and I was enthusiastic to do so too!) and paid (again) for me to do the course. No chance unfortunately of getting our cash back in any way. Boo and hiss, and a massive rip off.

So I booked on for August (they're popular courses and were booked up for some while). Unfortunately I really was not well the day before the course and had to defer.

I began to think that perhaps fate was telling me glassblowing was not for me!

Anyhow I re-booked and the staff at the centre were so nice about it. I eventually got to do the course in November.

I took a lovely train trip down to Bristol and set off for the course. It's not far from Temple Meads train station, but I took a taxi there as I wasn't too sure of how to get there.

The day itself was great. An introduction first on how glass is made and a tour of the furnaces and tools of the trade, as well as a safety briefing.

From there we moved on to gathering glass out of the furnace and controlling it by gently rotating it on the glassblowing poles, and then shaping it to try and get into a position to be able to take the blown glass off the active pole. This is apparently called a patsy!

The tutor then showed us how to make a small vase, which we all did.

We then moved on to making a bauble for Christmas.

All in all we were guided through making 4 pieces, and each got to keep one of the demos.

I collected my items the next day, still warm from the annealing (slow cooling) process they had undergone overnight. They were really well packed for my journey home.

All in all I was really impressed, the tutor was engaging and capable and we got to take home far more items than I'd have thought we would be capable of in a day. We were all independently able to gather and shape a patsy and take the blown glass off a pole on request by mid way through the day which is amazing.

I'd definitely recommend it!

Here is what I made:

I have a friend who lives in Bristol and had a lovely evening out. We went to a beautiful golden restaurant which is apparently part of a department store, but had a lovely view of the Christmas lights from the window. The dinner was really good, I had a braised beef dish.

We also went to a really popular bar, underground and serving a really wide range of beers. It's called the beer emporium. Not being much of a beer drinker I had some Orchard Pig apple juice with various minty additions (really like a non alcoholic mojito - result!).

A really great weekend over I caught the train back to Notts, although I did have a 40 minute wait scheduled in Derby. My lovely hubby therefore came and got me from Derby train station so I could get home quicker. He was impressed with my glass, and the big wine glass I'd made for him.

Life's good.

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