45) Go glassblowing
I have always loved glass. The cold, smooth surface, the vibrant colours and the way it looks when illumined by light.. As a was a teenager I collected so much retro glass that I had no where left to put it!
Ever since then I’ve fancied having a go at glass blowing. I thought it was something that I would do some day. The trouble is that some day never really happens. Having a List for Living means that the some day has come.
My friend Chantal, the flower girl, organised the day. As a creative person this is something that she has always wanted to do too. When I was writing my list Chantal told me she knew the perfect place.
We went to the London Glassblowing Studio. It’s considered to be one of Europe’s leading glassmaking workshops and it shows. The art that’s displayed in the gallery is incredible. As our lesson started I felt very inspired. My teacher was the talented glass artist Louis Thompson. He helped me to create a snowman. Yes, the first thing I made was a clear glass snowman! But we managed to progress onto more complicated pieces.
Chantal and I had one to one tuition and we managed to make several items. Her work was delicate whereas I like my glass to be chunky.
It may not look too complicated but this is hot and heavy work. I had to borrow a t-shirt so I could cover up. The furnaces are heated to hundreds of degrees centigrade. As soon as I got close it felt that my skin was screaming.
To start with you get a lump of almost liquid glass. You manipulate it. Twirling, moulding and squashing. Keeping it hot by putting it in the glory hole (yes it really is called that) every so often. Advancing onto adding colour and bubbles. And then you come onto the actual glass blowing. It was so hard that it made me dizzy.
It was amazing to watch a lump of molten glass on the end of a metal pole transform into something stunning. It’s hard to believe what we were able to make.
It all had to go into a special kiln for a day or so to cool down very slowly. It meant we had to leave our work there so I’m yet to see the finished glass!
Over the last year and a half Chantal has spend lots of time helping me with hospital stuff. She’s given me countless lifts in her massive flower van. This was a lovely opportunity to do something together which didn’t involve anything medical and to create something so very beautiful.