Sunday, 18 May 2014

Chapter 5 - The Magician

Birds by Bruce Mark

At the end of the magician's steel wand is a molten ball of glowing glass.  We gaze on, enchanted, as the glass warms, expands, cools, changes colour, adds layers, elongates and gradually takes shape.  The magician's name is Bruce Marks, and the dove magicked up in this instance is a vase that has a birdlike quality, deceptive in its simplicity.

It's Friday morning on Bermondsey Street.  Anne and I are at the Peter Leyton London Glassblowing Studio for a demonstration, though you'd half expect to be by a Venetian canal in a Murano glass factory, or in a villa-cum-workshop in the hills of Tuscany.  That's what I love about London, surprises in the most unlikely places.  The spell-binding performance lasts for an hour and a half from start to finish.  There is no interval.  As fellow glass-blower and narrator Louis Thompson explains, the process requires you to work constantly and consistently.  There can be no rest, no pause for a cup of tea or a sip of water.  Break the momentum, break the spell, break the glass.

Symbiosis (Grey) by Laura McKinley.

Louis will be giving the next demonstration, though sadly we can't stay, nursery pick-up is calling.  In the meantime he answers any questions.

"Where are the women glass-blowers?" asks a male member of the audience.  It turns out the girl fronting the gallery is Laura McKinley, is another member of this magic circle.  And yes, it turns out women do blow as well as men.

So there you have it.  Much to learn.  Momentum and Commitment.
Good-will to all men.  And women.

Bottles by Louis Thompson

We float back down Bermondsey Street, rising high on the balls of our feet ...

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