The surrounding countryside around Danville is very peaceful and if you didn’t know it was there you might just drive right past it. It’s something some people have only read about in the history books. And when you are up close and personal with it you are just stunned at the vision of the artists who work in such extreme conditions. It’s an art form that originated at the same as the establishment of the Roman Empire in 1 BC. What am I talking about?
Hendricks County is fortunate to have a hot shop in their back yard. Hot Blown Glass, Ltd is a glassblowing studio owned by Lisa Pelo located in Clayton, Indiana. Lisa has been teaching glassblowing for fifteen years but has only been teaching in her studio for four years. Lisa has seen many students come through her doors. Most of her students return to use her studio. She currently has fifteen students.
One of the most challenging things a new student to glassblowing needs to learn isn’t a technique but how to handle the heat. The furnace’s, it holds the clear glass, temperature stands at 2100 degrees Fahrenheit while the Glory Hole, the furnace where artists continue to heat their piece, is at 2300 degrees Fahrenheit. Glassblowers never wear gloves because it interfers with their fine motor skills so they have to learn how to properly hold the metal stick without getting burned.
Glassblowing can be fun if the proper procedures are followed. Lisa and her team never leave their students sides. They are constantly in communication with their students while in class because they want the procedures to become second nature for them. It’s easy to get burned in any glassblowing student when standard procedures are not followed, when working withe someone or when the student is distracted. Getting burned isn’t the only undesirable outcome either. The piece a student is working may get ruined if they don’t pay enough attention to their work. Once a piece is ruined it has to be thrown away.
When Lisa isn’t teaching a class she also make glassware for several stores throughout Indiana and Ohio. No two pieces are alike but they may have similarities. Lisa also travels around the state with her portable hot shop. She uses the portable hot shop to teach classes and conduct demonstrations.