Glassblowing was an unbelievable experience! We spent the day under the instruction of a master glass blower and this was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. The first technique we learned was how to take the bit of molten glass we wanted from the oven and cool the metal pole enough to able to work with it. Then we learned how to pinch in the end of the glass to form a separate piece on the end we could break off later. This was the important first step because all pieces needed a point that was pinched in. We also got to blow the glass, which was much harder than it looked. There was a technique we learned using wet newspaper to completely smooth out the glass, and surprisingly it didn’t burn us!
Towards the end, we got to work with colors. We dipped the molten glass into bits of color and reheated the glass to incorporate the colors into the piece. Each of us got to choose how we wanted to do our final piece. We got to pick the colors and style. I chose a bottle with yellow, blue and white. We worked with the master to do our final pieces. When we were nearly done with my final piece, it shattered. Luckily, I was able to make a second one and it did not break! I thoroughly enjoyed the glassblowing experience, and I am still amazed when I watch the masters turn a blob of molten glass into a horse or a beautiful bowl within minutes. Our day in La Granja was a wonderful glimpse into the art of glassblowing!

Maddy Kemp, Skidmore in Alcalá, fall 2013.

The glass blowing class was an amazing class. It’s something I probably never would have been able to do other places. I would have been perfectly content getting to watch the teachers make various things out of glass because I find the process very interesting and beautiful to watch. Getting to actually work with the glass myself was even more incredible. They did an excellent job setting up the class so we got to try a wide range of techniques. It was also really great that after a while, we had time to experiment with the techniques they had taught us and see what we could make. Even though my experiments didn’t usually produce anything worth saving, it was really fun to play around with the glass and see what it could do. Over all, it was a wonderful class with an incredible amount of things packed into it.

Martha Beard, Tufts in Alcalá, fall 2013.

A video:

soplado de vidrio from Tufts-Skidmore in Spain on Vimeo.

Our work:

More about our glassblowing session here!

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