If you are looking for a unique fall experience when you are in the Finger Lakes region, it doesn’t get much better than making your own glass pumpkin at The Corning Museum of Glass. Corning Glass, which is found in Corning, NY offers an amazing glass museum, gift shop and hands on experiences at making glass items. It is well worth spending a day to go to a glass show, explore the museum and make your own glass souvenir. This weekend I decided to go to the Corning Studio which is across the parking lot from the actual museum to make a blown glass pumpkin.
Every year, for a limited time, The Corning Museum of Glass offers the public an opportunity to make their own blown glass pumpkins. Since it is limited, make sure you reserve your spot. They do fill up fast so go online and book it early. We signed up several weeks ago at a cost of $32.00 each. Not bad considering they sell the pumpkins in the museum starting around $34.00 and up. And this will be your own creation.
When you arrive you go in the front lobby to sign in. Then you are directed to the studio area. We were in the 2:00 group. You will want to go a few minutes early to pick out your colors from the display. For our pumpkins we were given the option of two colors in the body and one color for the stem. I stayed pretty traditional choosing a red pumpkin with yellow flakes running through it and a green stem. My Mother In Law was more adventurous and went with a purple pumpkin with black flecks and a black stem. There are lots of colors to choose from so you can be as creative as you want.
When its time to start they give you safety googles to wear and if you are like me and like your flip flops, you will be given leather flaps to put over your feet. Basically the rule is no open toed shoes. There are four workstations. Our time slot was full so eight people total. Since me and my Mother In Law were together she went first. I waited outside the plexiglass divider. You can easily see everything and take pictures from there.
The glassblower takes a long, hollow, metal tube and dips it in the melted glass. She starts it out by placing the glass in the oven and heating it to 2100 degrees. She then blows in the tube and rotates it around. Once she gets it started she dips the melted glass in the colors you picked out. Then back in the oven it goes. When she pulls it out this time she puts it in a mold to give it ridges then it is your turn to blow in the tube. To keep it all sanitary they have alcohol swabs to clean the tube and then cardboard cylinders you put over the tube. You then blow in the tube while the glassblower rotates the metal pipe. This expands the melted glass and forms your pumpkin. It is so cool to watch these chunks of glass be formed into a cute pumpkin.
The glassblower will keep warming it in the oven as needed and bringing it back over for you to blow in the tube until the pumpkin is fully formed. Then she adds the stem and twirls it around to make it really cute. At this point the pumpkin is so hot you can’t see the true color. They put the pumpkin in a big oven to cool off slowly and set up. Because of this process you will need to leave it over night. Since we live nearby I went back today to pick ours up. If you are visiting our area the Corning Studio will ship your pumpkin to you.
One tip I will give you if you are planning to go make your own blown glass pumpkin; stop by the Corning Museum gift shop ahead of time. They have lots of already made pumpkins. This will give you an idea of different color combinations. Seeing the finished products will help you decide what you want to do for your own pumpkin.
This is a really awesome experience. When you are in the Finger Lakes area you will definitely want to take a day to explore the museum and make your own glass item. They offer a variety of items all year long so there is always something you can make. I am planning to go back in a couple months to make a Christmas ornament!
Thanks for exploring with me – Shelly