Travel

Hot stuff on cold days: try your hand -- and lungs -- at glass-blowing in Dearborn

Deanna Majchrzak demonstrates her first-time glass-blowing skills at the Glass Academy in Dearborn. (photo credit: Susan R. Pollack)

Deanna Majchrzak demonstrates her first-time glass-blowing skills at the Glass Academy in Dearborn. (Susan R. Pollack)

Here’s a hot way to ward off the chills this fall and winter:

Try your hand – and lungs – at glass-blowing during special classes at the Glass Academy in Dearborn.

You might surprise yourself and find you’re hot stuff — talented — at performing this age-old craft. But even if you don’t produce a museum-quality work of art, you’ll certainly create warm memories along with a glass paperweight, pulled flower or fall leaf to take home.

I visited the Academy studio with friends on a hot, sticky summer night and learned that the roaring, 2,100-degree furnace was five times hotter than my kitchen oven – phew!

Glass mugs and cones are among objects workers make at the Glass Academy in Dearborn. (photo credit: Susan R. Pollack)

Glass mugs and cones are among objects workers make at the Glass Academy in Dearborn. (Susan R. Pollack)

But while it was 100 degrees inside the warehouse even with fans whirring, it was really cool to work with the hot glass.
Aided by our able Glass Academy instructor, Becca Goldberg, we also blew giant glass bubbles –   and marveled at how therapeutic it was smashing the gossamer-thin creations afterward in a garbage can.

We took turns gingerly dipping a pipe into the molten glass and trying to make the hot liquid stay attached to the five-foot long steel pole clutched in our hands.

We also worked — very carefully — with the molten glass to form a “blob,” and then moved on to create a glass paperweight souvenir.

My first attempt at a paperweight: even novices can have fun at the Glass Academy in Dearborn. (photo credit: Susan R. Pollack)

My first attempt at a paperweight: even novices can have fun at the Glass Academy in Dearborn. (photo credit: Susan R. Pollack)

Mine sits on my office desk, and memories of the fun we had making it are sure to warm me up during the cold days ahead. It’s a great activity for birthdays, bachelorette parties and other group celebrations.

You can check out The Glass Academy warehouse this weekend — and hand-pick a pumpkin — during the Academy’s annual Glass Pumpkin Fest from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. The warehouse is at 25331 Trowbridge.

Call (313) 561-4527 or check www.glassacademy.com for the class and event schedule. The Academy typically is open Wednesday through Saturday.

The Pumpkin Fest, with live demonstrations, continues next Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 25 and 26, at Lands Architects,  421 Miller Road, Ann Arbor.

 

Susan R. Pollack

Globetrotting journalist and former Detroit News staff writer Susan R. Pollack has covered travel since 1985, visiting scores of countries on five continents, 48 states, six Canadian provinces and hundreds of cities, islands and outposts along the way. From Alaska, the Galapagos and New Zealand to South Africa, Thailand and Wales, she has suffered the occasional lost luggage, jetlag and Montezuma’s revenge but still delights in sharing travel adventures with readers. In addition to The Detroit News, her award-winning stories and photos have appeared in major newspapers including the Dallas News, Toronto Star, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Chicago Sun Times; and magazines including Delta Sky, Midwest Living, Long Weekends, Experience Michigan, Jetsetter, Home & Away, Hour Detroit, Prevue Meetings and Group Tour. She has contributed to several books including “Rand McNally 2008 Ultimate NASCAR Road Trip Guide,” and is the copy editor for secondchancetravels.com. She also has written for websites including gardendestinations.com and travelingmom.com.