We enjoyed a great ladies weekend in Newport, OR. Several of us gals get together every year after all of the craziness of the holidays. We usually try to pick a location where we can walk on the beach if the weather isn’t horrible. While we were here, we found a place where we could take a class and make our own floats. We had so much fun. Here are the highlights.

The instructor dipped out a blob of hot glass and we had to work it out to the end of the pipe.

If the colors will be on the outside, you take another dip of glass. If your colors will be sandwiched between the glass layers, then the colors go on now.

The colors are rolled into the hot glass and then melted in. It looks like a glass version of a candy apple until the glass chips melt in.

Once the colors are layered on, we have the option of blending the colors into swirls. We use a large pair of scissors to pinch and twirl the colors into a swirly pattern.

Once you are satisfied with how the colors are mixed up, the core is reheated to give it a shape like a light bulb.

The instructor adds a bubble to the glass and the lets it harden before we dip it back in to the molten pool. This keeps the colors from bleeding back into the pool and allows the float to be more easily blown.

Once the second coat of glass has been added we reshape the blob into a Q-tip shape, reheat it again, and head over to the bench for expanding the little bubble into a float.

The tube attaches to the end of the pipe and you slowly blow into the glass. As you do, the little starter bubble expands while the instructor does the final shaping.

The float is taking shape and needs to be reheated during the process to keep the glass flexible.

Once the float has reached it’s final size, the instructor uses a pair of jacks to score the top of the orb. She then takes the ball over to a heat resistant cushion where she cools the glass and we whack the pipe to dislodge the float from the pipe. She then dips out a small glop of molten glass to seal the opening.

We have two options for finishing the floats. One is a flat stamp that allows the float to rest on a flat surface.

The other is a hanger which will let you hang the float from just about anywhere that will support the weight.

We all had a great time! I think we had as much fun cheering on the others as we did making our own. The photos are a conglomeration of all of our floats at different stages, hence the variety of colors at the different stages. Dorrie was the only one of us who opted for the stamp seal, and Wendy was the only one who chose to have her colors on the outside. Having the colors on the outside you get more surface texture and have more options for brilliant colors. Dorrie had a red/orange and white float. Wendy opted for an emerald green and a deep purple. Sharon had a ruby red and gold mix. I opted for what I had hoped was a variety of colors. The colors ended up hanging out near the top of the float and weren’t quite what I had in mind. Apparently, to achieve the the look I was after, I needed to have the colors on the outside. I was informed of that a bit late, but I am still happy with the float. It will look great in the window.

So if you all ever get to Newport, Oregon and are looking for something fun to do, look up The Edge Art Gallery and make an appointment to blow your own float!

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