You Learn Something New Every Day

One of the things I’ve always liked about my, somewhat, peripatetic career is that I never stop learning. Whether it was army drill, avoiding orders (I never took them very well), learning about buildings and architecture, cooking and bringing up my children, renovating property, photography, fundraising, planning, organisation, management,  housing, the environment and now writing and public speaking. There’s always been something new to learn; as there continues to be as a charity consultant. It also means that I get to meet a lot of interesting and helpful people. In this latter incarnation, I am currently helping to set up the Urban Crafts Foundation as a Community Interest Company.

Among the things I wanted to investigate was the feasibility of including glassblowing facilities and I got in touch with London Glassblowing. A lovely woman called Sylvie was extremely helpful and suggested that I meet Bruce (who turned out to be her husband); he could talk to me at lunchtime today. Moreover, if I turned up at 12.30, I could watch a glassblowing demonstration. So off Gaynor and I went where we got a very individual exhibition of the craft with Bruce making a “Monet” vase. Try imagining the different colours in the original painting.

Who knew about how difficult it is to get the colours that you want? That’s because the glass gets very red, you can’t see any colour difference while you’re working it. That, in one case, it had taken nearly 40 tries to get the different colours right. That one kiln needed to be 1800 and one at 1200 degrees. That for glass blowing, the kilns need to be operating 24/7. That there was kiln forming as well as glass blowing. That the rods for blowing are stainless steel; not because they conduct heat badly but that they conduct it well and also radiate it quickly too. This enables the blower to hold it without gloves. That, instead of a glove to help shape the glass, the blower uses wet newspaper as it’s the nearest to hand touching.

All that and really helpful advice. So, if you’re ever in the London Bridge area, pop in. It’s in Bermondsey Street and  well worth a visit and the glass is amazing. And, of course, it provides the basis for a good blog that shows how kind and helpful people can be. Something I always enjoy.

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