Make Your Own Glass studios in Corning
Unique Attractions,  Upstate New York

Discover Why the Glassmaking Workshops in Corning are Bucket List Worthy

If you’re anything like me, you are anxiously awaiting the next season of Blown Away on Netflix. (Season 4 will be released on March 8.) So in the meantime, I’ve been binging the previous seasons and indulging in a trip to Corning. In fact, it was exactly 3 years ago when my husband and I were celebrating our wedding anniversary in Corning. And during both our anniversary trip and my recent trip last month, I did a glassmaking workshop. If you want to pretend like you’re competing on an episode of Blown Away, I highly recommend booking one of the glassmaking workshops in Corning.

The Corning Museum of Glass has been one of my favorite museums in New York since I was a little girl. I first visited decades ago as a young Girl Scout and have since been back with my husband and several different friends. I’ve been lucky enough to participate in the glassmaking workshops across several years. So I’ve seen the renovations they’ve made with their growing popularity and changes implemented because of the pandemic. And while each time has been very different, they all have something in common. I had a fantastic time making a one-of-a-kind piece of glass that I now own.

Glassmaking Workshops

One of the best parts of the Corning Museum of Glass is that it is so interactive. In addition to the immersive exhibits and glassblowing demonstrations, there is an expansive glassmaking studio. Here guests can reserve a slot in one of several workshops that are offered: glassblowing, glass fusing, flamework, or sandblasting. All of the workshops last roughly 20 to 40 minutes. Reservations are highly recommended as the spots do fill up.

Sandblasting

Sandblasting is the most budget-friendly workshop – and the only one where you can take your artwork home with you that day. The cost of the workshop is just $15. Glass options vary, and often include a variety of drinking glass shapes with the occasional glass plate.

Once you’ve chosen your object, you then cover the surface with stickers, creating whatever design you’d like. There are letters, strips, shapes of all kinds, and scissors to allow you to create your own shapes. (I may or may not have spent a little too much time trying to replicate the Wandercuse logo with masking tape…)

Once the stickers are to your liking, you’ll bring the glass over to the sandblasting machine. A worker will give you a short tutorial on how to best use the machine. Then they will place your item inside while you put your hands into the giant gloves. Step on the pedal to blast the sand and watch as it etches the glass. When you’ve completely blasted the surface, rotating on all sides, an attendant will double-check that it is ready. They will remove the stickers before rinsing and drying your creation.

Voila! You have your own custom-made glass to take home.

Glassblowing

If you’re antsy to test out the glassblowing you’ve obsessed over on Blown Away, this is the workshop for you. For $36 you’ll be able to choose from a sculpture, ornament, flower, or seasonal item. While the professional glassblower in the workshop will be doing most of the work, you’ll get to help out and make decisions throughout the process. Don’t worry, you’ll be up close and personal through the whole session. You’ll watch the glassmaker gather glass from the furnace, add color, and shape your piece.

To start, choose which color(s) and shape you want. Once the glassmaker collects the glass from the furnace, you will step on a pedal to add air inside the glass bubble. (Because of new safety precautions, guests can no longer blow directly into the pipe.) As the glassblower molds your piece, you’ll be able to provide some input as to its final outcome.

Once the piece is done, the glassblower will put it in the annealer to cool slowly overnight. You’ll need to return the next day to be pick it up, or pay to have it shipped to you.

Shout out to glassmaker Irene who helped my husband and I create our pieces! She was super friendly and answered all our questions during our visit to the studio.

Fusing

If you’re looking to try out a different technique, consider the fusing workshops. For $26 – $36, visitors over the age of 4 can use small pieces of colored glass to create a variety of objects. The simpler project choices include frames, mezuzahs, and suncatchers. Or you can have a more in-depth project with a clock, nightlight, wind chime or tic-tac-toe game.

Like the blown glass sculptures, the fused glass pieces will need to be put into the kiln overnight. That means you will need to return to pick up your creation or pay to have it shipped to you. Most pieces are available for next-day pick-up. But if your workshop was one of the last of the day, you’ll need to wait an extra day before picking up.

Flameworking

The last of the glassmaking workshops is flameworking. Currently flameworking sessions are $28 and allow you to create a pendant or bead. Flamework is much more intricate, requiring a bit of patience and a steady hand. An assitant will also be supervising as you create your piece. You will melt the ends of colored glass rods until they become molten and you’re able to “draw” them onto your piece.

While small in size, flamework projects also need to be cooled overnight. But unlike the larger projects, the beads and pendants ship for free within the US and Canada.

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