Crucible Glassworks Gives Glassblowing Demonstration

Michael Hatch, owner of Crucible Glassworks Hot Glass Studio and Gallery, gave a glassblowing demonstration at his Weaverville studio this past Saturday.

Hatch carefully explained the process as he worked. He began by gathering molten glass from a bowl, called the crucible, that’s stored in one of several furnaces in the studio.

Working between various stations and a second furnace, called the glory hole, Hatch expertly crafted a colorful piece of glass.

The completed piece was transferred to a final furnace, called an annealer, that’s used to slowly reduce the temperature of the glass. Gradual cooling prevents the glass from shattering due to thermal stress.

The glass is constantly worked above 900 degrees and, though rainy and cool outside, the dry heat of the studio was oppressive. However, Hatch said that high ceilings, a garage bay and French doors allow for enough ventilation to blow glass all year long.

The studio and attached gallery is located just north of downtown Weaverville at 60 Clarks Chapel Road. Hilary Hatch, Michael’s spouse and assistant, spoke fondly of the location in an article by Mountain Xpress in 2015.

“We’re right off main street, but you feel like you’re in the middle of the country,” says Hilary, “the idea is that anybody can come in and be among friends in a welcoming environment.”

Crucible Glassworks offers workshops in addition to public demonstrations. More information about their offerings can be found on their website.

 

Glass is reheated in a furnace referred to as the glory hole.

Glass is reheated in a furnace referred to as the glory hole.

The glass must be constantly rolled back and forth on the rail to keep the glass on center.

The glass must be constantly rolled back and forth on the rail to keep the glass on center.

A wet newspaper pad is used to shape the blown glass.

A wet newspaper pad is used to shape the blown glass.

Hatch smiles as he assessing his finished work.

Hatch assesses his finished work.