A Little Time and a Keyboard: Be Amazed and Learn about Art at Hot Blown Glass in Hendricks County, Indiana

Be Amazed and Learn about Art at Hot Blown Glass in Hendricks County, Indiana

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

**Thank you to Lisa Pelo for a wonderful introduction to Hot Blown Glass. Thank you to Hendricks County for sponsoring our visit. Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.**

Reflecting upon our recent visit to Hendricks and Morgan Counties, we realized that the trip delivered the complete package for us. We were able to tap into the uniqueness of this region of Indiana and experience its natural beauty, creativity and welcoming spirit. One of the earliest stops on our trip provided us with a wonderful morning exploring the artistic talent that is threaded throughout the region. Our morning also marked a first for us--a visit to a glassblowing studio!

Treasure off of the beaten path

Tucked away in a rural setting in Clayton, Indiana, we found artist Lisa Pelo's hot glass studio--Hot Blown Glass. Lisa was already working when we arrived and quickly we could see her talent. As she was crafting a vibrant flower, she discussed her process with us without missing a step. We learned about the equipment that she used in her creation, gathering and shaping glass, coloring the glass, the cooling process and much more. Lisa's fluid motion while crafting was a treat to watch in itself.

Lisa in action!
Learning is encouraged at Hot Blown Glass

We learned so much during our visit! We fascinated by the furnace that Lisa built herself. Building the furnace correctly is vital not only to creating a quality product but to safety as well. Pretty amazing!  I was particularly intrigued by the cooling process for the glass. In fact, a special furnace called an annealer is used to help cool glass pieces over a period of time. Glass needs to be cooled slowly. The annealer cools the temperature of the glass down in intervals which depend on thickness and intricacy of the piece. To give you an idea about the length of this cooling process, annealing can last about 10-12 hours. Wow! We also learned that the studio glass is different than the commercial glass used for bottling, etc. So if you are thinking about making something in Lisa's studio with those beer bottles in your basement, it won't happen. However, the glass Lisa does use is pretty standard within artistic glass studios themselves. In addition to the hot studio, Lisa also has a cold studio with instruments for putting on those finishing touches.

The hot studio!
Lisa is passionate not just about her own creativity but the creativity in all of us. During her demonstration, Lisa was careful to tell us that she knows how much glass to gather and that she can tell she has what she needs pretty readily by color but learners will take some time to efficiently gather glass. She also explained that newbies take time to get their bearings and to be able to move around the studio in perfectly timed movements. She stressed that this all takes time. I love her appreciation for all levels of ability because we all know that Rome was not built in a day. However, it is easy to feel intimidated when trying something new. Lisa knows her craft well and effortlessly explains it in terms you can understand. I would love to be in one of her classes and learn her art!

A beautiful "glass" garden
Visiting Hot Blown Glass Yourself

In fact, Hot Blown Glass Studio has a number of classes throughout the year. You can also set up your own event with Lisa. A class at Hot Blown glass would be a great Girl's Night Out, team building event, date night, mother-daughter adventure or more. Hot Blown Glass also has open studio hours for glass artists. The studio is open by appointment except during Second Saturdays and special events. Second Saturdays occur the second Saturday of each month from 11AM-3PM and provide a wonderful opportunity to see glassblowing in action!

Enjoy a spectacular glass festival during Glass Artists in Action

Our visit to Hot Blown Glass really tapped into our more inventive side and showed us the beauty, grace and inspiration that comes from the arts. We love being able to stretch ourselves and experience something new. Hot Blown Glass is holding a wonderful festival inviting all of us to explore the world of glass on June 6-8 called Glass Artists in Action. The event will feature a variety of glass art, demonstrations and art for sale. If you interested in learning about working with glass or are just plain curious, this is the event for you! Friday, June 6 will be the preview night for the event and will include a demonstration by Illinois glass artist John Miller , famous for some pretty cool food-inspired glass art like amazing hamburgers, french fries, tacos and more. After, Chad Balster of the Phoenix Collective will be wowing the crowd with fire demonstrations. Saturday and Sunday will be full of demonstrations and amazing art to peruse. Demonstrations will include both hot glass and cold glass techniques as well as torch work.

After leaving Hot Blown Glass, I definitely felt more inspired. I would love to try my hand at glassblowing some day. The process seems so graceful and the creations are stunning! If you are looking for something new to do with your family, think about checking out Hot Blown Glass on one of the Second Saturdays or contact Lisa to inquire about a class.

Hot Blown Class is located at 3717 S County Rd 200 E in Clayton, Indiana. You may contact Lisa at Lisa@hotblownglass.com or 317-987-6862.

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