Glass blowing studio becomes classroom for Snowhill students

Watching the orbs of glass spin and glow into fanciful ornaments for the Christmas tree was mesmerizing for Emily Hasecke, seeing the beauty of science meld before her.

“It was really cool. It’s really hot over there but it’s neat to see the glass form and (see) how it changes colors,” the Snowhill Elementary sixth grader said.

Sixth-grade students were invited to a special demonstration at the Doug Frates Glass studio at 32 N. Fountain Ave. They’re learning about volcanoes and the extreme temperatures of magma and lava. The molten glass in the furnaces is just about as close as they can get to the real thing in southwest Ohio, said Larry Marple, science and social studies teacher.

“We talk about how many thousands of degrees it is and then as they come here and see it, (they) are actually within arm’s length of it,” Marple said.

A safe and easy lesson included making glass ornaments. A metal rod collects molten glass from inside a furnace. It’s kept at more than 2,000 degrees. It’s then rolled onto colored glass beads and put in another furnace to melt together. Students then help blow air into the glass, forming a round glass ball, said owner Doug Frates.

“It’s all feel,” he said. “Learning your technique and learning your style, learning the consistency of the glass. Then there’s also all sorts of science behind it.”

Each student got to take home their own glass ornament.

While the day also included a tour of downtown Springfield and a stop at the Heritage Center, Frates said he hopes the time in the studio fostered a love of art and learning.

“I want them to go home and be excited about their day,” he said. “I want them to be thrilled they got to make an ornament.”

For Hasecke, there’s no doubt the day left a lasting impression.

“It was great. I’ll probably hang it in my room just to say I went on a field trip in sixth grade to a glass blowing studio.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in News

Confederate-like designs to be removed from NYC subway wall
Confederate-like designs to be removed from NYC subway wall

Metropolitan Transit Authority officials said they will modify wall tiles in a Manhattan subway station that create designs that look like Confederate flags, WNYW reported. The patterns, located at the Times Square station, have been on the walls for nearly 100 years. MTA officials said the tiles represent Times Square’s nickname as the &ldquo...
What some of our readers are saying about Charlottesville

Travis William Smith: It was both sides at fault, how is that hard to understand? Both have different beliefs and opinions on the statue, both were fighting, spewing the foul language, throwing things, breaking things, and so fourth. But go ahead … keep stirring that pot. John Belluardo: The media is suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome!...
COMMENTARY: 3 creative ways to deal with Confederate statues
COMMENTARY: 3 creative ways to deal with Confederate statues

The white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday was about a lot more than a statue, but the statue is where this specific event began. It’s a depiction of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, erected in 1924 in a place of honor in a city park. Today, many people in Charlottesville want this statue and others like it gone. They...
COMMENTARY: Fighting ideologies that counter American values
COMMENTARY: Fighting ideologies that counter American values

When driving home last week, I stopped in historic Gettysburg, Pa., to visit the National Military Park. There, a short distance from the Soldiers National Monument, I was drawn to these words from President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: “… Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation...
Private investigator in Natalee Holloway case finds human remains
Private investigator in Natalee Holloway case finds human remains

A private investigator working for the the father of Natalee Holloway said remains have been discovered in the case. Holloway, who is from Alabama, disappeared in 2005 while on a post-high school trip to Aruba. Her disappearance has remained a mystery for 12 years as no one has been charged. Speculation has swirled around Joran van der Sloot, a Dutch...
More Stories