Awesome . . .

By: deanna on May 26th, 2009

a word I overuse. I enjoy saying it – it conveys excitement, wonder, and the “wow” factor. The mobile hot-glass unit from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale is awesome!

Through Sunday, May 31, visitors to the Woodson Art Museum have the opportunity to watch glassblowers work their magic and turn molten globs of glass into beautiful works of art (which, coincidentally, are available for purchase inside the Museum).

What You Can Expect

Driving into the Museum’s parking lot, you’ll see a large tent and hear the white noise of a 2000+ degrees furnace. Approaching the tent, you’ll be given a ticket – with every public demo you have a chance to win (random drawing) a finished piece of glass art. Taking a seat, you wait for the demo to begin. In front are glowing-orange circles, the openings of the furnace and the glory hole.

For about 40-45 minutes you watch the demo lead by SIU professor Cortney Boyd, graduate student Steve Hagan, and undergraduate Tim Sheperd. During the demo, molten glass is transformed into a myriad of different forms, color is added, and tension is felt when the piece is broken off the punty rod. The glass object is quickly but carefully transported – using Kevlar gloves – to the annealer to cool down and harden, the crowd cheers and applauds with delight at the performance. At the conclusion of the demo, a paperweight is given away – maybe your ticket is the winner!

In addition to watching FREE public demonstrations (demos are presented during regular hours Tuesday – Friday, 9 am – 4 pm and Saturday and Sunday, Noon – 5 pm), venture inside the Museum to view Wrapped in Tradition: Dale Chihuly’s Trade Blanket & Blanket Cylinder Collection. (After I watched a few demos, I had a greater appreciation for the glass cylinders on display.) Also, check out Selections from the Collection in the decorative arts gallery that presents Victorian Glass Baskets and artworks from the Woodson Art Museum’s Studio Glass Collection.

Definitely worth making the trip.

Get your glass to the Woodson Art Museum – it will be AWESOME!

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