Friday, 3 September 2010

Red House Cone

So this is my final post about the International Festival of Glass and actually my favourite of all the venues. It wasn't just the exhibitions here that I found fascinating but the history of the venue itself too.

In the building behind the post box I came across a small glass studio with a lovely lady called Sarah Jones working in there. She is a lampworker and shares the studio with a friend who fuses glass. They had only moved in the week before but already seemed pretty established there. Sarah was saying that she'd only been beading for 2yrs but had spent around 4 hrs a day cooped up in her shed making beads at home, around her day job in a special school. This academic year she was able to cut down her hours to be able to focus more on her glass. Now there's someone living my dream!

Red House Cone is one of only 4 cone buildings left in the UK today but at one point many areas had cone buildings to produce glass and pottery. Producing glass in yrs gone by was labour intensive and 100's of people would have worked in this building creating wares needed by the local people. These were made at the cone and then distributed via the canals. There had previously been an inlet for the canal within the cone but this has long since been closed off.
The glass was made in sheets along a woodend conveyor belt (above) or blown in the middle of the cone part of the building (below). It was then left to cool slowlyt in the curved tunnels that joined these 2 parts of the building together. The tunnels were also right next to the canal inlet so perfect for packing straight onto the barges.
A glass collaboration still on exhibit in the Red House Cone.
I was a craftsman at work blowing this glass vase. At this stage he is nearly finished and is just sawing the glass off the rod he's blown it through.

I'd seen these glass curtains on the front of 'Craftsman' magazine 2 years ago after the last glass bienniale exhibition (was how I 1st heard of the exhibition and made me want to come to this one) and was really please to be able to see them in real life. The lace patterning in the glass is much more vivid in real life and the fact it seems to defy gravity is what makes this piece stunning.

I hope you've enjoyed my little write ups about the glass festival and might even be inspired to go yourself in 2012...if your not at the Olympics that is!!!

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