We Brits do love to talk incessantly about the weather, don’t we?
It’s too hot, or it’s too cold, or it’s too somewhere in the middle.
But honestly, this past week, imagine if you were a glassblower. What a flipping hot mess that would be. I’ve told you before that the thermometer regularly tops the 50-degree mark down here in the workshop, but this week, those poor blowers have been enduring something more like 60.
And all this hot makes for a bit of a fraught workshop. I mean, I get pretty cranky if I’ve not eaten for 20 minutes, so I can’t imagine how I’d feel if my brain was frying at off-the-charts-hotness, and I was having to work with molten glass.
Hot irons, hot chair, hot heads, hot everything.
Aside from drinking endless cups of cooling tea, they get through about 5 litres of water, just to replace the lost sweat that pours from them.
It was just a dream for them then, when the five tonnes of cullet Will had ordered from somewhere across Europe, arrived on one of the hottest days.
Turning his hand very rapidly to driving a fork lift that had been kindly loaned from a business across the road (thank you Bob, from South West Peninsular Training), Will and Johnny set to stacking the bags outside, and then, bringing them inside, and restacking them.
Working here you get to see that to be a glassblower you have to be an absolute master of multi-tasking. I mean, where do you start with building a furnace, or fixing a glory hole, or sourcing blowing irons and negotiating cullet prices across borders?
Every day is a bit of a try-to-wing-it, figure-it-out, kind of day. Doing what has to be done, with little or no guidance.
You have to be really passionate about something to stick at it through those kind of conditions, but these two do really love glass. And for good reason.
Some of their recent creations are not only beautiful, but behind the beauty is the absolute agony of blowing in this unbearable weather.
In his pursuit for unattainable perfection Will works in conditions that most of us wouldn’t even contemplate. Every day he battles workshop stresses, and flanked by Johnny he gets through it, finishing with some of the finest work you can expect to see in the functional, hand-blown glass world.
Look beyond the pieces – beyond the vase or the wine glass or the jug – to realise that what really goes into these works of art is a passion and dedication not often seen these days.