Lamp working – A method of glass working involving solid glass (usually in the form of rods or tubes) that is melted and reformed with the use of a torch and various other tools. This differs from mainstream glass blowing in that the artist starts with glass in its more solid form (It is never completely solid) rather than working with molten glass. This method of glass work is typically used to make a variety of products including beads, goblets, oil lamps, ornaments, paper weights, pipes and, (you guessed it) bongs.

I have recently had the opportunity to start learning the art of lamp working.

I am still afraid of the torch. Even after working with it for two years now I still get a rush of adrenaline when holding that flame in my hands. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say I have a healthy respect for the flame. I have no desire to be kept away from the flame as I might were I afraid, instead I only have a fascination and a sense of awe at the power I hold.

I learned to work with a torch in the context of jewelry and metalworking. It’s something I enjoy. When I finish a project I always have to take a step back and say: “Wow, I made that.” I’m not the artist of my family, my drawing skills are adequate at best, but when working with metal I am able to produce art that I am proud of. I don’t usually find much in myself to be proud of. It’s a good thing to be able to surprise yourself.

Now I have the opportunity to work with glass. Seemingly solid it is actually an extremely viscous liquid. I would have to say I am as fascinated with it as I am with fire. Metalworking is often an art of brute force. I have found glass working to be one of dexterity, coordination, and grace. It is in no way as easy as it looks. The things I produce at this point look like Dr. Seuss dreamed them up during a bad LSD trip. I don’t really care. The joy is in the process and the potential. Fire, movement, and learning by doing. Joy in being.

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