Corning Museum of Glass

Trip Start May 31, 2013
Trip End Jul 31, 2013

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Flag of United States  , New York
Saturday, July 13, 2013

The train didn't prove to be a problem last night. We heard it once (and it was very loud) but it didn't come through more than once. We had a nice breakfast outside in the cooler, less humid air.

Now that we are back in the US we are taking the opportunity to return the GPS we bought in Fargo. At that time we had been shown a GPS with US and Canadian addresses and that's what we thought we had bought. When we crossed over into Sault Ste Marie a few weeks back however it stopped working and it turned out that the clerk had given us the wrong version - the one with only US addresses. Although we were beyond the 30 day return policy the store here reluctantly gave us a full refund thanks to a persuasive argument by Bob.

We then headed over to the Corning Museum of Glass which is an amazing place! We were so lucky to stumble upon this treasure. The price of admission allows for entry on two consecutive days and the place is huge. There is a glass sculpture in the foyer that looks a lot like the one in the Saltlick Restaurant in Calgary. I am going to look it up but am almost certain it would have been done by the same artist.

There are three levels to the museum. The third level is the "innovation" area which has lots of hands-on type of displays with various types of lenses, fibre optic displays etc. There are also demonstrations held relating to glass breaking and fibre optics. The most interesting for us though were the demonstrations of glass blowing and "flame work". They have a program where they encourage visitors to submit designs. They then choose a design and make it in front of the audience. We saw an artist make a cluster of grapes. He was in a little booth with glass separating him from the people watching. I stood beside the booth and Bob stood a bit aways watching a video of the action. As the artist worked on the piece he told us what he was doing and why. It was really cool! Another of the demonstrations was held in an amphitheatre setting and again the artists (two working together this time) narrated as they went along.   
They also have a program where visitors can make their own pieces. The glass blowing didn't look very interesting since the visitor provided the air but the artist did the rest of the work. I signed up for a bead making experience which was "flame work". After gearing up in safety clothing, the group of four of us had a demo of how to make the bead. I then had a one on one session with the artist and he guided me through it. It isn't as easy as the demo made it look! I was doing a "line pattern" which ended up looking a lot more like a "random" pattern. It probably would have helped if I was wearing my reading glasses as I was having trouble with my depth perception and being able to tell when the glass rod was close enough to the bead to adhere. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

The process is first to build the bead itself by heating up a metal piece with clay on the end (can't remember the technical term) and also heating up a glass rod that then melts onto the metal piece. As it is melting, you turn the metal piece to build up the bead. Next is the decorative step - this time melting a glass rod onto the bead base. Finally there is shaping the bead. Glass will naturally want to be round but my choice was to do a barrel shaped bead, so I rolled it on a graphite surface to shape it. After the bead was finished, it has to go into an "annealing" oven (spelling?) so that it will cool gradually. We will go back tomorrow to pick it up. I would love to do more of this! It was fun even though I was a bit disappointed in the finished product.

We looked through the gallery for a long time, but there is so much to see that we are going to come back tomorrow. 

Tonight at the campground they had a karaoke night.  There are two types of people in the campground – those who are just passing through and local campers (either seasonal or here for the weekend).  The seasonals all seem to have either ATV's or golf carts that they drive around in.  On the whole they seem to be a pretty red-neck bunch!  We were surprised because we are in New York state after all.  I know it’s not New York City, but it is not that far away!  There were lots of country songs being sung about killing and cheating and drinking and lots of people getting really drunk.  The singing was pretty sad except for one girl who was quite good but didn’t sing nearly frequently enough. 
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