Sunday, September 18, 2011

Page 32: The Final Player

I now have Saint’s “complete” red formula and I know his working technique required a furnace with 4 crucibles; so let me introduce the final player in my saga. 
Not far from my studio in Millville lives another glass blower named Rich Federici. He trained at the Wheaton factory and now runs his own hot shop in Vineland. Rich has become interested in making his own glass after taking a workshop with Peter VanderLaan. According to tradition, in order to be considered a “master” glassblower in Italy one would have known how to make glass from scratch. With a surname like Federici, Rich definitely aspires to be an Italian master! He listened eagerly to my tale and excitedly pulled out his copies of historic texts. He told me he had begun experimenting with some of his own color recipes and gave me a tour of his shop. 
Finally he stopped by an old annealer and explained how he had recently converted it to a crucible furnace to hold multiple color pots. With a twinkle in his eye he rolled back the lid to reveal a glowing furnace with 4 perfectly sized color pots. I imagined Lawrence smiling down at us. 
I would like to acknowledge the following institutions and their helpful staff who assisted me with my research: The Glencairn Museum, the Bryn Athyn Cathedral, the Rakow Library at the Corning Museum of Glass, the Archives of the National Cathedral, the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History, the Wheaton Library at the Museum of American Glass and the Wheaton Arts Glass Factory. I would also like to thank the following glass craftsmen who helped me understand the practical dynamics of glass chemistry by generously helping me prepare samples: Jason Kline and Daniel Read. My special thanks go out to Martha Saint Berberian, granddaughter of Lawrence Saint and her family.

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