Glassblowing Class in Berlin, Maryland…

Glassblowing Class in Berlin, Maryland…

Glassblowing Class

Very few things – other than super cute animals and longer than normal posts from friends who are normally just lurkers – get me to stop scrolling and really take notice of something in my Facebook feed. But when I happened upon a Facebook event for a glassblowing class that said “Make Your Own Blown Glass Christmas Ornaments,” my fingers froze. Tell me more, Facebook!

Berlin, Maryland

The small town of Berlin, Maryland (population 5000) was named Coolest Small Town in America in 2014. It was also the setting of the Julia Roberts/Richard Gere movie, “Runaway Bride.” As you can imagine, it’s quaint and picturesque and has a lot to offer its visitors, from boutique shops to bathtub races. (Yes, really!)

Berlin is also home to a small art glass studio and gallery:

Jeffrey Auxer Designs

The studio and gallery showcase the work of Jeffrey Auxer, as you may have guessed. Jeff was a candidate for a degree in Business Administration at local Salisbury University. In the final semester before receiving his Bachelor’s degree, he decided to take a glass blowing class as an elective. That whim changed his life.

Jeffrey Auxer started blowing glass in college and now shares his passion with others - giving them the opportunity to creat blown glass Christmas ornaments at his Berlin Maryland studio.

In 2009 he opened his own studio in the Berlin Arts and Entertainment District. The gallery serves as a showcase and storefront for his colorful glass works such as these:

Blown Glass Christmas Ornaments and More at Jeffrey Auxer Designs in Berlin Maryland

And, since we were there in December, there were quite a few colorful Christmas ornaments to choose from:

Blown Glass Christmas Ornaments for sale at Jeffrey Auxer Designs in Berlin Maryland

In addition to the styles you see above, Jeff also does Chihuly style glass work. I thought this lamp was just stunning:

Chihuly Style lamp at Jeffrey Auxer Designs in Berlin Maryland.

Jeff also does metalwork. His two skills are paired in a number of unique pieces, like this one:

Blown Glass Christmas Ornaments and Metal Work by Jeffrey Auxer Designs in Berlin Maryland

DIY Time!

I bought two ornaments as gifts. But that’s not why we were there.  We were there to make our own blown glass Christmas ornaments.

While we waited for our appointed time slot, we looked over the 20 or so different color combinations we could choose. Some of the color combinations were themed for sports teams, with coordinating ribbon emblazoned with the team’s name.  Orange and black ornaments sported a Baltimore Orioles ribbon, for example.

Ultimately, I chose the turquoise, lime green and white combination, while Hubs chose yellow and black. Our first task was holding the long metal rod in the furnace and spinning it so it heated evenly.

Heating the rod prior to making blown glass Christmas ornaments in Berlin Maryland

Jeff then took the rod and dipped the end in a pool of molten glass located inside a 2000+ degree furnace. He dabbed it in the colored pieces we chose and began shaping it into a ball, then gave a small blow to get it started. At that point, he sat down on the bench and we slipped our protective mouthpiece on the end of the rod. (Because no one wants to do communal glassblowing. Eeuuww.)

Making blown glass Christmas ornaments in Berlin, Maryland.

He told us to blow into the mouthpiece while he shaped the ornament. It was easier than I thought it would be. After a couple of blows and repeated rolling & shaping, Jeff placed the ornament on a pad of soft cotton and snipped it off the rod.

Blown Glass Christmas Ornaments from Jeffrey Auxer Designs in Berlin, Maryland.

His assistant added a clear glass “loop” to the top of it so that the ornament for hanging it, and the ornaments went into a kiln at 900 degrees to finish up. The next day, I returned and picked up our ornaments, which turned out beautifully.

Yellow and black Christmas ornament made in Glassblowing class at Jeffrey Auxer Designs, Berlin, MD.

Blown glass Christmas ornament made in glassblowing class at Jeffrey Auxer Designs in Berlin MD

This is not something you want to do if you’re all about instant gratification, though. Not only do you not get to take your ornament home with you when you leave, you won’t even know what it really looks like. That’s because it will be so hot that the colors will not appear true. In both of the photos above, the ornaments appear red and orange but neither had those colors in them.

Glassblowing Class: What You Need to Know

Jeffrey Auxer Designs offers glassblowing classes for individuals as young as age 4. While I refer to these as Christmas ornaments, it’s important to note that they can be hung in a window all year round. They’ll look especially pretty when the sun hits them.

Reservations are required and the cost is $25-$30.

NOTE: I did not receive any compensation for this post.  

Glassblowing Class Review - Jeffrey Auxer Designs in Berlin Maryland
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Summary
Article Name
Ready, Set, Blow! Making Blown Glass Christmas Ornaments in Berlin, Maryland.
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An article about a workshop in Berlin Maryland that offers visitors an opportunity to make their own blown glass Christmas ornaments.
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Travel As Much
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