Glass Pumpkin Making
When I saw the opportunity to create a pumpkin in soft glass from Tallahassee Glassworks, I went into full-on "shut up and take my money" mode. I couldn't believe that right here in Tally, you can learn one of the oldest art forms in human history - soft glass sculpting!
Tucked deep in the bellows of Railroad Square Art Park sits one of the most inclusive and just-plain-happy places in the city limits - Tallahassee Glassworks (TGW). Step inside and you'll be greeted by Max, the owner, who wants to share his passion of glass melting with you. You'll see many of the sculptures currently being worked on, as well as a large body of work in the gallery space in the back of the shop. A frequent student of Corning, the Mecca of glass creation and production in the world, you're guaranteed to see something awe-inspiring within the walls of the shop.
At the start of the class you'll meet Christian Zvonik, a glass artist based in St. Petersburg that TGW brings up for certain events. He seats you in the driver's seat as you start creating by rolling your stainless steel blowtube with a large gather of glass on the end. A slight puff of air and you've blown your first bubble, now its pumpkin time. After another large gather of glass, you select your colors and roll the gather on top, with small pieces of color collecting on the molten glass.
Once melted in its time for an optic mold, which is what turns a round bubble of glass into the characteristic pumpkin shape. Now, grab the jacks and start working the glass like you're in olden times as you separate the pumpkin from the stainless steel blow tube. A teammate will help you with the stem, as soft glass sculpture is a team sport. A few pulls, wraps, twists, and cuts finishes up the final shaping and into the kiln it goes for annealing.
You pick up your pumpkin the very next day and I couldn't be happier with how mine turned out. I had a great experience down at Tallahassee Glassworks and I know you will too!