Pulling Color w/ Green Flash Glass
You never know who you're going to bump into in a glass studio. I certainly never expected when I was taking a class on making soft glass pumpkins that I would run into Michael Avila (Flic Glass on Instagram) and Jeff Hormuth of Green Flash Glass, Tallahassee's own boro studio. When they asked if I wanted to snap a few pics of them pulling color, I'm not sure if they even finished the question before I said yes.
As we pull into the newly-named Magnolia Glass Studios, home to Green Flash Glass, I couldn't help but notice that I've driven by this place dozens of times. I had no idea such a wonderful place was hidden away amongst some industrial buildings on Orange Avenue. Jeff gave me the tour of the teaching space first which consisted of a large room with a massive octagon-shaped table and vent hood with torches at each station. He informed me that this is key to fostering a glass community in Tallahassee as very few new students have a place where they can experience melting glass firsthand.
We moved into the stockroom, where Green Flash keeps all their raw materials such as clear tubing and rod. The final room was the rental space and production area where all the magic happens. Glass artists have been renting here for years and it certainly feels like it when you stand in that space. With all the pieces, tools, and space, I was certain some amazing work has come out of this non-descript warehouse space.
Once the tour ended, we moved on to the main event: pulling some mothafuckin' color. Inside the crucible was one of Jeff's signature concoctions aptly named Cosmic Charlie. Using a long stainless steel punty, Jeff would grab a large molten gather of glass on one end. This molten glob will be used to attach even more molten glass that would then be stretched thin into more usable rods for an art installment at a local jazz club.
With 2100 degrees pouring out of the crucible, these two would yank out a huge glob of glass and stretch it as long as it would stretch. Its a race against time as the entire chunk of glass begins to cool and harden the moment it leaves the crucible. Each piece, once stretched, would then be heated at the knuckle - the portion of glass near the stainless steel punty. Out come the diamond shears to cut the stretched rod and BAM: we have a rod of Cosmic Charlie.
Once a clean rod has been separated from the knuckle, it is rushed into the kiln so that it cools evenly without cracking. Overall, watching raw color be pulled for the first time was an incredibly eye-opening experience. Local companies like Green Flash that create small batch color are beginning to become major players in the glass color industry and its happening right here in Tallahassee.
My favorite part of the experience was speaking to Jeff on some of his plans for the studio. Soon he will be offering full classes on glass blowing on certain night of the week where students can sign up and learn right behind a torch. Also in the works is an event called Third Thursday's where the studio will be opened up for anyone who wishes to learn the wonders of lampworking. Stay tuned right here and you'll be sure you're among the first to know!