the glass-blowing obsession

For about a year, my friend S. has been obsessed with glass blowing. There’s a glass-blowing studio in Hyattsville, Md., and she has been driving 30 minutes every Wednesday to make ornaments, paper weights, glasses, vases.

I didn’t quite understand the obsession until last Saturday. S. rented out D.C. Glassworks and had eight of us carpool to the middle of nowhere on a cold December evening. As soon as I walked into the garage with high ceilings, pipes coming out of the walls and three glowing furnaces, I knew it would like it. It felt rustic, creative and open.

We each had the choice of making two ornaments or one paperweight. Three instructors and the owner were there to first demonstrate the process — and then oversee it. We worked with the melted glass (it melts at 1600 C) on the end of long pipe, twirling it to shape it and then adding the color before rounding it and removing it from the rod.

It takes at least 14 hours for the glass to cool steadily in a special machine. So we had to wait (very patiently) before seeing our masterpieces. On Wednesday, S. picked them all up and had a dinner tonight for the “reveal.” S. told me yesterday that she and her husband J. agree that my paperweight matches my personality — S. used the words “adorable” and “bubbly,” which made me nervous and think “tacky.” But I think they’re right. I absolutely love it.

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