But everything happens as it is supposed to, and for a reason. I spent a lot of the time checking out the city, galleries & museums. I ran into some friends from River Falls in the first couple of hours - some of the students that had participated in my demos last November, as well as Eoin Breadon & his family. I attended a great party the first night at Firenation Glass Studio & Gallery where I met a few new & a few long standing friends. I found out that Eoin would be demonstrating the next day at a venue that I could actually attend - I was pretty psyched. It would take place at a mobile studio on the back of a box truck, located in a parking lot. The truck belongs to Neusole Glassworks and wasn't part of the formal GAS agenda. Sounds just about right. His demo was a blast to watch, and a great way to spend an afternoon.
The last day of the conference, the students from River Falls gave a kick-ass demo at the Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art. This would be the one time I bent the rules a little & snuck in to watch. The demo was beautifully coordinated, and well practiced. Everyone worked together well and the piece went very smoothly - they created a blown & sculpted Falcon in a Nest.
The one big deal at the end of the conference is the party. It is included in your conference fee & is historically awesome. I wanted to attend, but could not justify paying the equivalent of several tanks of gasoline for a few hours of partying with folks. The networking was over at that point, and that would really be the main reason for attending. I was actually gong to leave town before the party started until I received a phone call from Eoin. He had been talking with Jason Chakravarty from Neusole Glassworks. I met up with them. Jason asked me how I managed blowtime to make work, seeing how I am travelling all the time.
"Do you Poach it?" This is probably one of my favorite questions I have been asked.
"Sure, man. Why do you ask?"
"There is a furnace on the back of a truck with about 50 lbs of glass in it that needs to be emptied"
I followed them back to the truck in the parking lot & met the crew of the truck, Logan & Josh. I pulled a bunch of the molds out of my truck. Those who had not seen my molds before got pretty excited. The guys gave me a studio orientation, and we started to play. The River Falls folks all came by to watch, (and take some great photos, click here) as did a few other folks, it was nice to have the audience.
First up was with a blowpipe that my friend Chad recently custom made for me. It is a shorty with a long head, designed for use with small furnaces where you gather out from the top. The opening in the head is a bit larger, so it requires less pressure to inflate a bubble. This pipe was originally designed for use with the boro furnaces I was playing with in Montana, but did not acquire it until my recent trip to Gettysburg. The glass they were using on the truck was Bullseye, which I had not blown since 1995. Turns out it was great for mold blowing! There are a few items left from this session available on my Etsy Store (Click Here).
I must say it was a beautiful evening for blowing glass on the back of a truck. The sun set in front of us, and as it grew dark, we worked by the glow of the glory hole & the ambient light of the street lights. A block away in view, there was a wedding reception at a restaurant, the well dressed attendees would periodically stroll over to see what we were up to. Others would come and go, and for our final feat, all three of us blew into different molds at the same time & stuck the strange glowing shapes together hot.
I came to Toledo to network, although I did not make a large Quantity of connections, the connections I made were very Quality ones!