A Note from 2015 Conference Partner, The Corning Museum of Glass
Host of the Evening Party on Saturday, August 15 at WBC15 Starting at 9:45 PM
You voted and the winners have been chosen. The Wine Blog Awards are always a special part of our annual conference, and this year, the awards themselves are pretty special, too! We’ve partnered with The Corning Museum of Glass—host of the Saturday evening party—to create hand-crafted awards for our winners.
Eric Meek has been making beautiful glass art for more than 20 years. Eric joined The Corning Museum of Glass in 2002, and now manages all of the hot glass programs, which are extensive. In March, the museum opened the new 100,000-square-foot Contemporary Art + Design Wing, which includes the massive Amphitheater Hot Shop, the largest space in the world where the public can watch a live glassblowing demo.
When tasked with creating the Wine Blogger Awards, Eric knew he had a great theme to work with. Just as grapes inspire our wine bloggers, they too, inspired Eric.
Let’s take a look at how these beautiful, custom awards are made:
A glass rod called a cane is made ahead of time. Clear glass is encased in purple, then stretched thin while hot. The thin glass cools rapidly, and then can be cut into these pieces, known as murrine. This is an Italian term for colored patterns or images in a glass cane that are revealed when cut in cross-sections. The murrine are then arranged in the shape of a grape cluster, and heated back up to stick to more hot glass.
Eric gathers a small amount of glass to shape. The glass in the melting furnace is about 2100°F. Once it cools a bit, he is able to gather more glass on top of it to form a larger piece.
A favorite tool of glassmakers—newspaper soaked in water—is used to shape the molten glass. He must continue turning the glass at all time.
Hot glass sticks to hot glass. With the purple murrine heated, Eric can pick them up with the flattened hot glass on his pipe.
Eric uses a reheating furnace (set at about 2300°F) to melt the murrine into the glass.
Back at his bench, Eric continues to flatten the design into the glass, and inspects it to make sure he’s ready to move on to the next step.
Next, Eric needs to hand-draw a stem for the cluster of grapes. To do this, he uses a torch to heat a green rod of glass, fusing it to the glass he’s been working.
Eric returns to the reheating furnace to make sure the green glass is melted in. He brings the entire piece up to the same temperature.
He then goes back to the furnace that holds 1,000 pounds of molten glass, and gathers a bit more over the top of his design.
He continues to flatten the glass with a wooden paddle, and shape it into a plate with soaked newspaper.
The design emerges, magnified by the hot orange glow of the molten glass.
Eric uses jacks to make sure everything is aligned properly before returning to the reheating furnace for one final time.
Eric uses a bit of water to stress the connection point between the glass and the pipe. With a single tap, the glass breaks free from the pipe and is placed in an oven, called an annealer, which slowly cools the glass overnight.
The final product: a beautiful Wine Blogger Award, hand crafted by master glass artist Eric Meek.
Eric looks forward to showing you the beauty of glassmaking firsthand during a special Hot Glass Demo during the Saturday evening party at The Corning Museum of Glass! You will not have the opportunity to explore the rest of the Museum at that time. But we don’t want you to miss this amazing collection! The Museum is offering special tours of the galleries for conference attendees at the following times:
Thursday, August 13: 10-11 a.m. or 5-6 p.m.
Sunday, August 16: 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Please RSVP to Kim Thompson, PR Specialist for The Corning Museum of Glass at email@example.com or 607-438-5219, indicating your preferred date and time. Space is limited.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see the fascinating collection spanning 35 centuries of glass, and explore the brand new Contemporary Art + Design Wing!