Okinawa Tourism Information:BlowGlassExperienceatGlassArtAI

Blow Glass Experience at Glass Art AI

post : 2015.05.05 19:00

Among all the glass workshops scattered in Okinawa, I would like to introduce “Blow Glass Experience” at Glass Art AI in Naco City.

A great charm of blow glass experience at Glass Art AI is that you can blow all the process by yourself.
As you have to use molten glass that is difficult to manipulate, few workshops offer visitors to blow from the beginning to the end.

Well then, let’s start experience!
When you arrive at the shop, you will decide what to make.

After choosing one of three items: glass, dish, and salad bowl, you will think about colors and design.

You will choose the base color for a glass product you are experiencing from six colors: clear, bubble, pink, blue, aqua blue, yellow green, and green.

Next combine a couple of kinds of colorful glass pieces from 25 kinds large and small, and create colors and design on your own.

It is also fun to think and choose your design by the image of the ocean of Okinawa, of tropical southern land, or of the memories from Okinawa.

Wear cotton gloves, and arm covers, and take a lecture, and finally you can create your own Ryuku glass sculpture!

As the temperature of molen glass is the same as in the magma of a volcano, it is very difficult to handle, and it could cause a serious burn if you make one wrong move.
So please listen to the staff very carefully.

First, you will blow molten glass of ping-pong ball size called “shitadama (loosely translated as bottom ball).”  As you blow air into the pipe, keep rotating the rod.   You can rotate on your own, but if you are afraid, a staff member can do that for you.

They let me experience it, but I needed more energy to blow than I had expected.  I thought it was important to blow with all the strength you have and carefully. 

Glass ball tends to get hard when it gets cold, the staff will reheat the glass and collect more glass around your glass.  Oh, you can see that it is forming a shape clearly.   

With glass pieces added to your glass, you are getting to see how your finished piece will be.
As you get to see the finished shape, you will be thrilled!

When you are done with your blowing work, you will start making the lip.

With large tongs known as “hashi (loosely translated as chopsticks), you will gradually create the size of the mouth as you open the lip. 

After you check the procedure and how to use the hashi, you will get on to the real thing.
You will open the lip with the oiled hashi.

“Ohh!” I was so surprised that I gasped in surprise.
Heated glass reacted to oil to cause flames! 

I showed a surprised face automatically.
Being a little upset, I tried to stay calm to keep opening the lip of my piece.
How much you open it depends upon how big you would like the lip of your piece to be.

When the lip of your piece is open enough, you will define your shape.
Keep rotating the rod, press the sides of your piece with a stick covered with newspaper.
When you are done with shaping your piece, your experience is finished.
The staff member will crack your glass off of the blowing rod and leave it to cool overnight.

When you finish the whole process, you will feel easy at the same time you cannot wait to see how it will turn out.  You will feel a sense of achievement and satisfaction because you do all the blow work and shaping.  Required time differs depending on what item you make, but it takes only 10 to 15 minutes from start making (excluding designing time).  You can pick up your piece at the workshop the following morning.  Otherwise you can ask them to send it to your home (A delivery charge will be charged separately). 

You feel comfortable as you can travel light.

This is the finished glass!
The image color of Yaezakua (multi-layered cherry blossom) is gentle pink
Molten glass pieces dotted around the glass feels good and pleasing.
When your glass turns out a fancy one like this, you are excited about what to put in it.

If you make several items with your family or friends, you can enjoy such a fantastic breakfast as this!

Experience is available for anybody who are elementary school children or older, so it would be perfect for a good memory from your family trip to Okinawa.

Recently not a few couples visit here to present handmade glass items to their parents at wedding ceremonies.  The parents will be delighted if they present glass ware which they designed and created by themselves.   

Please enjoy the unforgettable experience during your trip to Okinawa.
Every time you look at your Ryukyu glass, the unforgettable fun time in Okinawa will cross your mind.

Glass Art AI

Address: 211-1, Nakayama, Nago City, Okinawa
TEL: 0980-53-2111
Opening Hours: 9:30~18:00
Registration Hours for Experience: 10:00 to 12:00 13:00~16:30最終受付
Closed on Tuesdays (If Tuesday falls on holidays, the shop is open.)


Okinawa CLIP Photo Writer  Akari Matsumura