Video Transcript

This is a special edition of The Cupboard Presents: Artist Insights. We're at Bogart's, the Live Nation concert venue in Cincinnati, Ohio two doors down the street from The Cupboard. The Cupboard sponsored a benefit for Meals on Wheels and Bob Snodgrass, Steve Sizelove, and Mike "Migoo" Goodman have graciously offered their time to give us a glassblowing demonstration today in conjunction with the benefit for Meals on Wheels.

Steve Sizelove:
Mike and I were talking today about what we're going to make. I'm going to start off with taking a piece of prep work that I brought from home that is very similar to this one. You guys can pass this around. This is a bubble trap section of tubing. I'm going to sculpt a hollow girl as best I can. I'm going to stick that into the kiln, and I'm not sure what will happen from there. This particular element that I'm going to make, I've put inside water pipes as part of the perc, or on the outside as part of the stem. I've also done some mini-rigs with them. I've also used a hollow torso and leg combination as elements of a goblet, for a goblet stem. This individual section is fairly flexible on what I can do with it.

Hey, guys. We just wanted to take a quick moment to have you use caution while watching their projects. You don't want to look directly into the flame. It's not good for your eyes.

Mike, Steve?

Steve Sizelove:
Bob gives good advice. 

I like to use a blowhose with a swivel. I'm not sure, is that- yeah, kiln's warm. That way, I don't actually have to move the glass to my mouth to blow, and I can see what I'm doing a little better that way.

That is a hair trigger torch. If you touch the [inaudible].

Steve Sizelove:
No. Feel free to holler out any questions as we go along. I'll be happy to answer them either truthfully, or I'll make something up.

Hey, guys. Bob was just saying don't look directly into the flame. It'll hurt your eyes. Look off to the side, okay?

Steve Sizelove:
Once that little bubble trap section of tubing makes its way around, if somebody could bring it back up this way, that would be cool.

No, we need some water. That would be good.

Do you mind, Mike, if I on the table on this? Awesome.

So I'm going to use about half of this bubble, or this piece of tubing here to make the hips and the butt and pelvis area. It all gets formed pretty quickly once it's hot.

I'm going to flat ... give a crease for the back of the legs. Now, heating the front, I do another crease for the front. That little bit of motion there my butter knife really defines the legs. It's subtle, but one of the neat things about sculpture is sometimes, the more blatant something is and the more obvious, the less the viewer becomes part of the piece. If as an artist, I just give the suggestion of the legs, then as you look at it, your mind fills that in and creates a complete picture with it. Use my butter knife, then, to begin to define the groin area. Excuse me, my spoon.

Are we?

Steve Sizelove:
We'll play more. You make a blank and I'll do something with it.

Steve Sizelove:
Or Bob, if you want, you can mess with this one, too.


Did I bring my jacks? Do you see jacks? Did I bring my jacks? There's a lot of stuff out here. Not, it's- I just need a little something something here.

Wire jacks.

Steve Sizelove:
Let's do it.

They're pretty sharp, and they're pretty.

Steve Sizelove:
This is a traditional glassblowing tool called jacks. They are most commonly used in furnace glassblowing applications. I have found their benefit in flame working applications.

I'm opening up the end of this tube a little bit so I can then attach it to the bottom part of this figure. The two pieces are decently well-combined. I'm going to cap the end, it's open, and puff just a little bit. I got to push them together a little bit more.

Now that I have a blow tube hollow handle on this side, I'm going to switch where I put my blowhose. Now I'm going to begin to work on the upper part of this torso. What I can do is take this handle off, also known as a point, take that off. I'm going to get this hot and let it pull out a little bit, helping you to define the waist. Just like the butt and the hips, the top part of the torso, once the heat is all in there, shapes really quickly. I'm going to try to do it here at the front of the bench so you can see. Flatten down like that, flatten it down on that side, and you can begin to see it taking shape. Without losing any heat, I immediately go back in with my shears. These are special glassblowing shears. These are dull, so they're especially not helpful, but they still work. I come in and I cut at an angle on both sides. That defines the shoulders.

I'm going to give this figure a pose. Get the whole torso warm from the midsection up, I grab at a shoulder and basically bend it to one side. I grab at the other shoulder, and pull down. Now, I have to add glass for the shoulder socket. Again without giving the complete definition of the figure but giving the idea that there's a shoulder up there is enough to help complete the gesture of the figure. Just like a Renaissance-type sculpture that is just of a torso, I just coddle it down to make it look like a clean point where the arm would continue.

Drop another gather on for that side.

How many of you in the audience are glassblowers currently? Cool. Don't hesitate to heckle. For real, if you have any questions, just speak up. Okay, louder. Huh? No. It's actually really comfortable. We have had the most amazing weather recently [inaudible].

I want to thank you all for coming out and being a part of this. This is a really awesome opportunity to have an event like this in our community. I don't live in Cincinnati, but I still consider myself part of the local community. I'm only about an hour away, hour and a half away. Yup, sure.

There are a lot of different ways to color glass. This particular piece was done by taking cobalt-colored tubing, blowing it into another tube that had a screen on the inside of it. That gives the cobalt tubing a texture from the screen. The screening pops off, and then I fumed gold and silver, and then stick that inside another tube. I have a refrigerator compressor that I use as a vacuum pump. It takes the clear tube and sucks it down to the blue tube that has the gold and silver fume on it. At the low spots, it leaves little teeny bubbles. There are ways of taking colored rod and striping it down the glass, trailing it on. There are different ways to build tubing by stacking colored rod on tubing and putting other tubing over it. There are so many different ways to color the glass.

Hey, guys. Just to let our artists know as well as all of you, we're coming close to 4:00. We'd be introducing Bob Snodgrass in here soon, if you guys need to prepare at all.

Steve Sizelove:
How's she going, Mike?

Okay. Oh, that's no fun. Now I've got a torso without breasts. That'll never do. I go back in and I add gathers for the breasts. I actually, as I add them, I blow out as well. The pattern puffs out into the shape of the figure. I get the area that I'm dropping the gather on pretty hot. Now, it's a little bit cold. Also, I've got a little bit of a leak in my swivel.

Bob, I'm trying not to make a mess here.

Okay. Uh-huh. Especially the more complicated water pipes are definitely piece by piece. Each particular part has to be prepped up so when it's time to do the assembly, things happen in the correct amount of time based on the heat of the glass. On the water pipes too, there are some aspects of cold working. All of the perc stuff is done on a wet tile saw. We'll have to make a section [inaudible 00:19:20] all that, then take it to the tile saw, make the cuts, then sometimes go back and work that again in the flame if I'm going in and gridding in between the cuts.

I'm sorry, I can't hear you. Can you come up this way? I'm half deaf. Thank you.

Say an air-trapped Sherlock? Eighteen years plus an hour? That's the thing. When glass looks decent, when it looks like the piece has flowed together well, it usually doesn't take a lot of time because things have been heated properly, the glass moves the way it wants to. The pieces that take the most time are the ones that I have to fight with. A lot of times, that will come out looking like it's been through a battle. Maybe there'll be some weirdness to the wall thickness. You'll see thin spots.

What's that? Yeah. Awesome.