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Blown Away by the art of glassblowing (15 photos)

A visit to Blown Away Glass Studio in Elora

ELORA - The process of glassblowing is as fascinating as the finished pieces that adorn the shop at Blown Away Glass Studio.

The art that Tim and Katherine McManus make at Blown Away starts as 50 pound bags of silica sand brought in from Texas.

That's turned into molten glass in a 2700 F furnace that runs 24/7, then a second 2500 F degree furnace is the next stop before the blowing and crafting of the piece takes place.

Air is blown down the long steel pipe to insert an air bubble into the blob of molten glass to start the shaping process.

Then the pieces are rolled and shaped using rods, tweezers, shears and the less technical tool of wet newspapers (used to shape spinning glass orbs because it doesn't bind).

Metal oxides of various colours provide the decoration and patterns.

Finally the pieces are cooled slowly in another oven.

It was glassblowing that brought Tim and Katherine McManus together. The two met while studying glassblowing at Sheridan College in the early 1990s and have been together ever since.

After Tim returned from Helsinki, Finland, where he completed his studies, they realized their dream of opening their own studio in Elora 18 years ago.

And business is good.

In addition to their sales location at their Wellington County Road 7 studio, they do a lot of selling through their web site, numerous custom pieces for private and corporate clients, design and make awards for a variety of corporate clients and organizations and also offer a variety of classes at their studio, from a 12 week course to weekend workshops and a variety of shorter beginner sessions, including one titled "One Hot Date."

A visit by comedian Rick Mercer last year for a segment on the CBC's The Mercer Report, also helped.

Blown Away is open Tuesday through Sunday. More info can be found at


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Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 30 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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