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The Scottish Maritime Museum Hopes to Ignite a Passion for Glass Art With Launch of Glassblowing Experience

12th June 2024

The Scottish Maritime Museum invites everyone to try their hand at creating beautiful flameworked glass art at a brand new, summer-long Glassblowing Experience.
The new Glassblowing Experience, which has been developed by the Museum in partnership with Robert McLeod, Fellow of The British Society of Scientific Glassblowers (BSSG), begins on Wednesday 12 June.
The workshops, which follow on from a popular exhibition on ships in glass bottles and a series of glassblowing demonstrations by Robert, will run at the Museum on Irvine Harbourside from 2pm to 4pm every Wednesday and 10am – 12noon every Saturday.
Participants will enjoy the thrill of discovering new skills as they work with a flaming torch and shape molten glass into ornamental glass pieces to take home. Projects will include bead making, pendants, marbles or a solid sculpture.
They will also hear about the endangered craft of flameworking, which is sometimes called scientific glassblowing.
The Glassblowing Experience Workshops are suitable for adults (18 years and over) and for beginners through to those with previous experience.

Eva Bukowska, Exhibitions and Events Officer at the Scottish Maritime Museum, says:

We’re thrilled to partner with our long-standing friend Robert McLeod, Fellow of The British Society of Scientific Glassblowers (BSSG), to create our brand-new Glassblowing Experience.
We hosted an exhibition of 150 vintage glass ships in bottles in 2022 and the exhibition and the glassblowing demonstrations which Robert has given since then have been hugely popular with our visitors.
With such a lot of interest shown, we wanted to go a step further and create a workshop where everyone could try this beautiful but endangered craft for themselves.
Flameworking is mesmerising to watch and even more magical to experience for yourself. We’re hoping everyone will love stimulating their brain trying out new skills and techniques and enjoy unlocking their creativity. Who knows, for some, the experience might ignite an exciting new passion or hobby!
With two places available on each two hour Glassblowing Experience, those who would like to take part should book their space soon!”

Robert McLeod adds:

For centuries, glass has been central to science and the art of glassblowing has facilitated many of the most important innovations in science. For many years, scientists have depended on skilled glassblowers who can take their ideas and turn them into bespoke complex and functional laboratory equipment, and they continue to rely on them today.
“Unfortunately, today scientific glassblowing is an endangered profession. According to the Heritage Crafts Association, there are fewer than 100 scientific glassblowers currently employed in the UK. The workshops are a perfect opportunity to experience this wonderful craft.”


Scientific Glassblowing

Although flameworking dates back centuries, there was a resurgence in popularity in the 1970s when highly skilled scientific glassblowers in England found themselves faced with redundancy after the decline of heavy industry.
Combining their skills and experience making laboratory apparatus in an open flame with artistic flair they began selling intricated glass ships in bottles. A boom in demand followed but came to an end at the end of the 1990s when mass overseas production led to a drop in quality.

Booking a Glassblowing Experience
There are two places on each Glassblowing Experience to ensure safety and the quality of experience for participants.
The Glassblowing Experience costs £30 per person or £50 for a single participant.
Places can be booked at www.scottishmaritimemuseum.org or by contacting Eva or Claire by emailing eva@scotmaritime.org.uk or claire@scotmaritime.uk or telephoning 01294 278283.

For more information on the Scottish Maritime Museum www.scottishmaritimemuseum.org

Issued on behalf of the Scottish Maritime Museum by
Joanna Harrison, Mobile: 07884 187404

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