My friends say I'm half baked
In Memory of Carl Craft, Sid Hagdal, and Clyde Dullabaun.
With the help of some professional glassblowers that worked with Dad and who helped us start the studio, I learned to blow glass from a furnace. I was infected with the heat, sweat, and stamina necessary to do furnace work. Soon I was making well centered paperweights and could use the process of printing designs in the weights that my father had worked out.
Dad could solve problems. He worked on a project that made stemware with only one gob in a standard Hartford machine using paste molds. I remember the company was so proud of their new product they paid him to press hand made commemoratives for the occasion.
Dad kept the shop running as much as he could afford, and I was out there as much as I could. Our whole family was involved. My youngest brother did a short video for a Public television show (Kids Are People Too) about glass. Since we were one of the early shops in the Toledo area, we got some publicity from the local paper. Dad was giving demonstrations regularly, and I got to be his punty boy. I learned a lot, glass chemistry, thermal expansion and contraction, control circuits for the ovens, combustion principles, and most of all, how to work with fluid glass.
Over the past couple years I've designed and built a heat recuperator that uses the furnace exhaust to preheat the combustion air and a burner that will not back flash because it mixes the air-gas mix at the burner. I've calculated this arrangement is saving me 15% of my gas bill, unfortunately, energy costs went up 40% at the same time.
Now I have stopped working at my shop until my divorce is over, and am using a friend's shop to make pieces.