By Emma Esteves
I recently found a new show on Netflix called Blown Away. At first, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it, but I was bored, so I decided to give one of the 24-minute episodes a try. Before I knew it, I found myself watching the entire season (there is currently only one season) and I was left desperately searching for more.
Glassblowing is a technique used to shape molten glass into wonderful, artistic creations. Even if you don’t know much about it, the show does a great job explaining how the tools are used and what their primary purpose is:
- Furnace: used to melt the glass into moldable temperatures, with heat reaching 2000 degrees fahrenheit
- Glory Hole: the opening of the furnace; used to keep the glass hot and at workable temperatures (if glass gets too cold in the process of shaping, it will fall off the punty and break)
- Punty: a rod that is used to hold the hot glass after it has been blown, helping the artist shape it into a desirable design.
- Blow Pipe: Like the punty;a hollow pipe that has a mouthpiece on one end for the artist to blow air into the molten glass and inflate it.
- Annealer: where the final product goes to cool down and reach manageable temperatures.
Along with gaining some interesting knowledge about glassblowing, Blown Away is filled with excitement, drama, and heartbreak. The show reminds me of a mix of Project Runway and The Great British Baking Championship, where contestants have a strict time limit to design, create, and complete their projects. It gets pretty intense when time dwindles down, especially when the glass that they worked so hard to shape falls off the punty, shattering not only their piece, but also their dreams of winning.
Towards the end of each episode, everyone’s creation is displayed in the gallery located within the Hot Shop (the factory where they work.) I think that this is my favorite part because you finally get to see how the pieces that they were making collectively come together as one. Often times, they are really cool, creative, and colorful, and it makes me want to start glassblowing myself! The judges also have some pretty sassy/aggressive comments they make towards the artists about their pieces.
If you have any free time this week, I highly suggest checking out Blown Away. It is super entertaining, really satisfying, and overall, a great way to decompress and find enjoyment in a new art form. I guarantee you will be hooked within minutes, just as I was.