Glassblowing is one of those art forms that people appreciate, but think they could never do it themselves. FOCI Minnesota Center for Glass Art, a nonprofit glass studio and education center, wants to change that.
FOCI’s mission is to engage the Minnesota community in the study and appreciation of glass arts, accommodating beginners to experts enrolling in one of its many classes. For those just starting out, Office Manager Kelly Nezworski suggests the Glass Discovery or Crash Course classes first.
For those who are interested in working within a group and making a night of it, the Pint Glass Social or Hot Glass Social are the best options. In both classes, teamwork is a vital part of the experience. “Everything about glass is a team exercise,” Nezworski says. “Groups work together to help create individual and unique pieces.” Students make a paperweight in Hot Glass Social and a pint glass in Pint Glass Social.
The actual glass blowing process is similar in both classes. “Essentially we have a large molten pot of glass. This glass is gathered on a hollow pipe (a blow pipe) much like honey,” Nezworski explains. “The glass is then reheated to keep it fluid, while it is shaped into the desired piece. After the piece is in its final shape, it is placed in the kiln to slowly cool down to room temperature. This process takes almost 18 hours. After this, the piece is ready to go home!”
The end result is a unique, molten piece of artwork that is unlike anything you could ever create at home. The colors are vibrant and otherworldly, bleeding across each other and fusing in the most fantastic way. You won’t be able to help but marvel at it once it’s removed from the kiln.
FOCI can accommodate one to 40 people for hands-on experiences, and for a viewing demonstration it can accommodate up to 75. FOCI allows outside food and beverages at classes or demonstrations.