Sticking our necks out (bwah-ha-ha)! This week we learned how to form necks on our pieces and use wet newspaper to shape our glass.
Have you ever seen a gaffer use what looks like a wet washcloth to hold and shape the glass? It’s actually wet newspaper and it allows glassblowers a little more hands on control while they are forming their piece. This newsworthy tool is used at multiple points during the process, but we specifically used it to help create necks on our vessels.
After gathering, popping our bubble and forming our glass as usual, we used the paper to start the initial shape of a neck. With our thumb and forefinger we lightly squeezed our glass bubble at the end closest to the pipe. This pushed the air inside the piece toward the bottom, creating the body of the vessel. Once the neck was begun, we added two jack lines. One at the base of the piece, just after the pipe. The second where the body of the piece would narrow and become the neck. I guess you could consider the jack lines falling at the top and bottom of the neck. Between the newspaper and double jack lines, our necks were formed and the piece was ready to transfer and finish. Trim it, shape it, and box it.
We cycled through the process of making vessels with necks throughout the class. I managed to bust two of my pieces which I’m certain equates to progress, I’m just not sure how. The first piece dropped off the punty just after being transferred. This mistake could be partly due to getting the end of my punty caught in my shirt on the way to the bench. The second cracked after I let it get too cold in between flashes. Unfortunately, that mistake cannot be blamed on any type of wardrobe malfunction.
Everett is pretty serious about having us take notes during class and write down all the steps for the various drills we’re working on. The premise is if we write down the steps, we are less likely to forget them. During the past four classes (only four more left) I’ve collected a nice set of lists scribbled throughout with images of puntys. I do think that they’re helping me stay on track, but they are becoming longer and longer each week. At some point, I may just need to compile a book-on-tape. Once upon a time, I gathered some glass, cooled my pipe and then started my bubble…