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artech glass blowing studio

Creating Beauty out of the Fire – Artech Glass Blowing Studio – Haliburton

by Mary Chong
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The fire burns hot inside the studio/barn but the snow is softly falling on the glass ornaments that line the pathway outside …

The blowpipe gets dipped into the hot molten glass inside the furnace and minutes later after some coaxing it turns from a blob of nothing into a beautiful glass work of art. We are at Artech Glass Blowing Studio in Haliburton Ontario. We’ve already watched the demo and it will soon be our turn.

It’s about 1,000 degrees Celsius inside the actual furnace but it’s -6 degrees outside.

artech glass blowing studio

We are toasty warm inside the rustic barn/studio dressed in layers if we get too warm as we surround the furnace watching trained glass blowing instructor Terry Craig teach us the basics of glass blowing.

The four of us – Vanessa of Turnip Seed Travel, Helen of Not Without My Passport, Sharon of Dream Travel Magazine and I are nervous and listen carefully to the safety points – hair pulled back, safety glasses on, touch here, don’t EVER touch there…

We choose our colours…

What will it be?

Blues, purples, pinks, greens…so many choices, so many combinations.

artech glass blowing studio colours

I decide to go with “Anabelle’s choice” for my first “piece of art”.

At least that’s the name I’m calling my bowl on the table containing the mixture of green coloured shattered glass bits. It’s a family affair at Artech Studios with Terry Craig and Jennifer Wanless-Craig running the show and even their young daughter, Anabelle, pitching in with her chicken to help me decide which colour to choose. She says it’s her favourite so it will be mine now too…

artech glass blowing studio Anabelle

At Artech Glass Blowing Studios the demo is over – It’s my turn.

Guided by Terry, I nervously dip the steel rod into the clear molten glass in the furnace to gather a glob of glass onto the tip of the pipe then we dip it into the shattered glass coloured bits of “Anabelle’s choice”. The pipe goes back into the furnace to melt the coloured glass bits. Stretched like taffy the coloured glass gets pulled and manipulated with various tools to create the design that will live inside the clear exterior that will be my future paper weight. It gets reheated and dipped again in more clear glass…slowly it’s formed with various ladle-like wooden tools.

This process gets repeated – wooden ladles, sharp instruments and fire are used to form, shape, pull, cut and coax the glass into a masterpiece.

I’ve created my first work of art – a paperweight that sits proudly in front of me as I write this article.

It isn’t as beautiful as blown art sculptures found in the Imagine Museum in St. Petersburg Florida but a girl has to start somewhere right?

Here’s a video of me in action.

Time flies. It’s all a blur of excitement as we each take our turn learning the art of glass blowing creating 3 beautiful works of art. Each one of them different, each one unique, each a one of a kind like the people who created them.

artech glass blowing studios

At Artech Glass Blowing Studio beauty is born from the heat of the fire

I had the most amazing experience and it was something that I’ve never thought I’d ever get to do myself. I’ve loved glass for a long time – you could say that the love of glass runs in my family, as my brother-in-law is a collector. I’ve even dabbled in stained glass a bit, creating my own windows and boxes but creating beauty from nothing in a fire is a totally different experience that I will never forget.

Artech Studios offers full-day and two-day weekend workshops and is one of the many creative adventures you can experience through Yours Outdoors. Terry and Jennifer are the perfect instructors and hosts as they made us feel right at home in their studio as we enjoyed a cup of tea prior to our lesson. Don’t be surprised if Anabelle gives you a tour (wink).

Yours Outdoors also offers packages and tours for individuals, couples and small groups. They can be single adventures or custom multi-day adventures. Themes change throughout the year according to season. Adventures are “active” such as dog sledding, ice fishing, ice climbing, and biking or “creative” such as pottery, wine tasting, cooking and music.

Barrie Martin, owner of Yours Outdoors is a perfect gentleman and host as he picked us up at our hotel and drove us to the studio due to a snowstorm…Not because we are special but because it’s just what he does…

From having tea and meeting a little girl’s chicken and to being rescued in the snow – just another testament to the warmth and friendship that we experienced in Ontario’s Highlands.

Creating Beauty out of the Fire - Artech Glass Blowing Studio - Haliburton Ontario Canada by Calculated Traveller

I was a guest of Ontario’s Highlands Tourism. My opinions as always are my own and are in no way affected by the compensation I received.

For more adventures in Haliburton, check out:
Gone to Pot by Yours Outdoors in Ontario’s Highlands
A Maple Syrup Experience at Deakins Mountainview B&B
A Journey of Discoveries in Wilno Ontario

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Sharon M October 1, 2014 - 3:17 pm

This is such a great way to spend a cold winter’s day! Your pieces turned out brilliantly! Was such a great day I hope we can spend more days like this learning new things in new cities!

Tricia April 29, 2014 - 5:31 am

Mary, we’ve done cooking classes and shadowed with a silver filigree jeweler in Croatia, but haven’t yet seen glass-blowing. What a lovely souvenir you created to remember your afternoon. :)

Mary Chong May 30, 2014 - 4:13 pm

Thanks Tricia for your comment. I just love my paperweight and look at it daily with a sense of “I made that! PRIDE” haha. I would love to take a pasta making class in Italy, or a sushi making class in Japan… the list goes on and on…

Henry | @fotoeins April 15, 2014 - 4:42 pm

Beautiful glass works! That’s a really cool idea, Mary!

Mary Chong April 15, 2014 - 4:49 pm

Thanks Henry it was an awesome learning experience… I highly recommend it!

Helen April 7, 2014 - 2:53 pm

It was great to share the experience with you!


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