In The Studio

Sonja Blomdahl describes the process of blowing a vase

Here I'm just starting--- rolling the color that the piece is going to be. This takes place before we've even gathered the clear glass from the furnace-- I'm putting the color on the blowpipipe-- the completed vase at the right of the picture is a model giving some direction to the process.

Here I'm blowing the glass. Everybody always wants to see that, even though it's just a small part of the process.

This is the first bubble that you make into a cup shape, soon we'll join the middle band to it.

I'm at the bench, we've got two parts, I'm bringing the third one over-- we're joining the bubbles together-- then it comes off my end. Then we marver-- This is all part of the delicate process of joining the bubbles together.

The metal table is the marvering table-- it's made from a sheet, or slab of thick steel. We roll the hot glass-- By now, I've joined all three bubble bands together. the piece is on the blowpipe; I'm making sure the joints are together, sealed-- evening the temperature. Earlier slides show one bubble-- once the piece is rolled and uniform on the marver, we continue blowing out the shape...

We have to heat up an area to get it hotter so it will move, so it can be shaped. Heating it up so we can change the shape-- torching a spot heats an area. If we're getting it ready to go into the fire, what we call the "glory hole" it's sometimes helpful to have one area a little hotter than another.

Here, the piece is just about finished. I'm lifting the bar, helped by a wooden paddle, because the bar is hot-- We'll bring it over to the annealer, where my assistant is waiting-- I knock it with the paddle, and it comes off the punti (blowpipe)-- My assistant catches it and it goes into the annealing oven-- The oven starts at 1000 degrees, cools down slowly, overnight-- fill it up with our day's production-- it stays at 1000 degrees, to stabilize, then cools down over 8 hrs, and it's done in the morning...

Assistant Janusz Pozniak-- worked for her for about 3 yrs. She works with just one asistant. "We don't have big team." "I started that way [with just one assistant], studio is small--I like the control of all the parts of it-- from the start-- making the color the way I want it. I like doing all the parts of it. It's a little more calmer day-to-day. With a team it's like trying to organize a football team. This is slower, calmer. I don't produce as much, but it's easier for me. It's a control thing. I have control each step of the way-- hands on from beginning to end. I feel I'VE made the piece.

Sonya Blomdahl - Main Page