“I am very grateful to have found the path of glass,” said Rodi Rovner, owner of Hands-On Glass, a studio in Corning. Twelve years ago, she expanded her own passion for glassmaking to include the general public. At Hands-On Glass, visitors of all ages can blow their own glass ornaments or create paperweights with the help of a team of gaffer volunteers. This holiday season, Rodi will offer a new ornament-making technique that is similar to embossing with a stamp and requires the use of carved molds. The end result is a sun catcher that visitors can customize with their choice of molds.
Rodi became inspired to start an education program in glass when she was working for two small glassmaking studios in Corning. She believes it is altogether appropriate to share the process of glassmaking in a city made famous by it. Glassmaking was the first major post-Civil War industry in Corning; in 1879, Corning Inc. developed the bulb-shaped glass encasement for Thomas Edison’s new incandescent lamp. Today, the “Crystal City” is known globally for its glassmaking innovations.
“There is a natural excitement when glass work is being done,” said Rodi. “It is awe-inspiring to see a hot, molten material that looks almost alive because it is always moving.”
She explains to her visitors how humbling it is to work with glass, how it is so fragile and delicate that it can break, crack or crash to the ground at any instant.
“In the end, there is nothing better than seeing the pride and amazement in the eyes of children and adults as they create their finished piece,” she said. “That is why I do this.”
You can find out more about Rodi’s studio by visiting www.handsonglass.com or calling 607-962-3044.