Glass-blowing in the Chicago Area

A 2008 creation.  Glassblowing: harder than it looks.
This weekend the older teen and I are headed to Chicago Hot Glass for a one-hour glassblowing workshop during which we'll make a handful of ornaments. Yes, one of his Hanukkah presents involves making Christmas ornaments. They can always be light-catchers, no?

At any rate, keeping with this year's theme of looking back on my archives-I've been blogging since 2005, yo- this originally appeared in February 2008 on the Chicago Moms Blog.

Last Sunday when the Chicago Tribune featured a Sunday Home and Garden spread on local glassmaking classes, DH was already halfway through his weekend course at Chicago Hot Glass. Is DH at the leading edge of a glassmaking trend? Wow. That just might be the first time I ever used the words DH and trendy in the same sentence.

DH said that despite the chill outside, it's really hot in the workshop. He said that glassblowing is a physically and mentally involved process. And like any new endeavor, the experience was a bit humbling. You can bet that his finished pieces won't be displayed anywhere other than the Moldofsky Museum or on his desk, but once our boys saw the results of their dad's labor (Oh, a paperweight! Oh, a glass without a stem! Oh, another paperweight!*) they wanted to try, too.

And thanks to the Trib article, we know they can. DH took our nine year-old and one of his friends to Patterson Glass in Mundelein this morning for their annual Valentine's Day Sale and Open House.  (Ed. note, they do this around Christmas, too!) According to the article, they will work with children over seven, but according to DH, one of the helpers complained right in front of my son that they shouldn't let such young kids participate. To be fair, my 55-pound almost ten year-old boy is smaller than some seven-year olds, but she should've saved her comment for the break room.

However, what the staff lacked in tact, they made up for in helpfulness. They allowed the guest glassmakers to play enough of a role in building their creation that the guests felt like they truly made it, yet the staff assisted enough to ensure a good-looking piece.

I won't get to see my son's heart-shaped paperweight until next week because the super-hot glass needs to cool in a special chamber that slowly brings the temperature down. Or, as one witty employee put it, "You can take it home today, but it's going to be in a million little pieces, so you might want to wait."

I'm actually hoping I won't see my boy's creation until Valentine's Day (hint, hint). And as for my newly trendy husband, I look forward to see how he's going to heat things up for me on V-Day, but I kinda hope it doesn't involve paperweights*.

*His paperweights are actually pretty cool.
(P.S. I dropped one of his paperweights when we moved in! It didn't break, but it did get scratched up.)
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