Relax By Turning Up the Heat With Glass Blowing

I’m not big on talking about myself. As the senior vice president of sales and marketing, I’m enthusiastic about the work being done and the relationships being forged every day at each of our Front Porch Retirement Communities, but I’d rather let those accomplishments speak for themselves. After all, if I’ve done my job right, you’ll never know I was there.

During my career at Front Porch I have met many residents who have both continued their passions or found new ones after moving into one of our communities. But for me, in my personal life, no matter how passionate I am about a particular interest or pursuit, I’d rather tell you about where to find it or how you can get involved than go on about my latest accomplishment or how much I’ve improved. After all, “actions speak louder than words,” as they say.

In keeping with that mantra, there’s a passion of mine that I’d like to share with you; glassblowing. It’s an ancient art form, first developed around the middle of the last century BC. Put simply, the craft is based around the idea of super-heating small “blobs” of glass, then pushing (or “blowing”) small amounts of air into the soft, white-hot material while mixing in various other pieces of colored glass in order to create specific patterns or shapes. Imaginative glass blowing artists can create a wide range of products, including vases, drinking cups, bowls, plates, and (my personal favorite) paperweights.

Paperweights are a great way for the novice glassblower to get started in the field, given their small size and flexible design (after all, not everyone wants the same old round hunk of glass). The smaller size makes them easier to handle during the course of one four-hour studio session, and the open-ended aspect of playing with various colors and glass-working techniques means that I get a different end result every time. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I like blowing glass. Like as with many art forms, no two objects are exactly the same. Each piece has its own unique facets, colors and shapes with the only limitation being the artists’ imagination. Perhaps that’s why I like working at Front Porch so much … each of our communities is unique. Each has its own personality and flavor, where all can appreciate and celebrate the “art of the individual.”

For those interested in getting started in the field, or just want to learn more about the art, I’d encourage you to explore some of the many glass working studios around Southern California or contact your local community college or adult education classes.

Practice, of course, makes perfect, but it’s this flexibility inherent to the art form that gives me the opportunity to unwind during each visit to the studio. After all, glass blowing for me is about relaxing, not a way of life.

— Joan Woodworth