Friday, May 12, 2006

Corning Glass Museum (long)

Okay, Mom came into my room around 11:30 on Wednesday night. I was nearly asleep and pretty much out of it. She asked me if the Corning Glass Museum sounded cool. Sure, sure, whatever, go away and let me sleep, it's not pouring cement...

Anyway, I managed to get up early enough to write my Deep Blue entry for the history blog. We left around 9 AM and got gas. Then came back because yours truly had forgotten her silly asthma medicine. Then we left (again) around 9:30. I stitched the whole way up.

We got to the parking place and saw a beautiful glass building. Um, but it was kind of small. Phew! It was only the Visitors' Center. The museum is a short shuttle ride away. There were some neat purple flowers going up its driveway, but I didn't get a chance to look at them. There's a highwater mark from some flood in 1972 about 4 1/2 to 5 feet up the windows in the main entrance. The museum is set up on a small hill, so I can't even imagine what the true depth was. (I love the internet: here's a link about the 1972 flood.) We paid for a membership so we can go back again and bought our tickets to make our glass flowers.

We did that first. It was cool. I chose green, clear and red glass, while Mom chose purple, lavender and clear. Of course, the teacher helped me and did a lot of the work, although I wish I could have been the one doing it all! If it goes as planned (we have to wait a week or ten days to have them mailed to us) mine will have a green stem, clear petals and red stamen-like dots on the interior of the flower. I will, of course, post a picture of our first attempts at glassmaking.

After a visit to the Carder Gallery and lunch we started the actual tour. It's self-guided and they have a carpet/arrow motif keeping you going in the general direction you're supposed to go. It's easy to get confused, but fun. We saw two sculptures in particular that I want. I truly truly want them. The first was Susan Plum's Woven Heavens, Tangled Earth: a sphere of flameworked glass woven together, layer by layer. The second I don't recall the name of the artist or work, but it was so relaxing. The artist (female, I think) suspended three glass plates in front of three pieces of fabric with brushes and motors behind the fabric. The motors and brushes keep the fabric in constant motion, creating patterns behind the glass. It was great.

We also saw glassworks from Ancient Egypt, Rome, Israel all the way up to modern times. I really loved the trick glasses and goblets. The Germans seemed quite fond of making them. There were mini-mosaics - moaics so small the details were only clear through the aid of a magnifying glass. Can you imagine piecing them together?

Waiting for the hot-glass show I played around with an interactive display on how to make different colors of glass. Did you know that the addition of gold to the glass formula actually turns it ruby-red? And Pyrex was a happy accident? Some glass was left in an oven overnight and had crystalized differently with the higher heat. Mom and I also tried out some weird egg-shaped glass room suspended from the ceiling. You can whisper on one end and the person sitting directly across from you can hear you clearly.

The hot glass show was neat. I've seen glass being blown before at Ren Faires, but what made this one especially cool is a camera that shows the glass being heated up in the glory hole (the heating oven that does not have the molten glas in it). The oven has a small window of the glass used on space shuttles in the back, with a camera aimed through it. You can actually see what the glassblower is doing in the oven.

The whole experience was great. We're planning our next trip already.

No comments: