For those not familiar,
they are called the Finger Lakes because they look like this
So it was a good thing the Corning Museum of Glass was such an amazingly wonderful distraction. I was almost glad of the rain so I didn't feel torn between getting outside and hiking acres of hills and staying inside and looking at acres of glass.
Okay, actually, the museum was the main focus of this trip with a little hiking at Seneca Lake to be the bonus. The museum turned out to be the bonus. It has to be the best themed museum in the world. The website says to plan about 2-3 hours for your tour. That is very misleading - you will need 2-3 days. Seriously. You would need 2-3 hours just to peruse the gift shop (even if you don't plan to buy anything).
I think my jaw dropped as soon as I saw the building and getting inside, it dropped a little more.
Usually, with any visit to a gallery or museum, after a couple of hours, I feel too overstimulated to take any more in. So, you might think a museum with just glass in it might get a little ... boring, or "look, more glass". Not at all. I started at around 2pm and stayed until 7:30 with an hour or so to check into the hotel. Then I went back the next day (your ticket is good for two days and teens and kids are free) and stayed from 9am until it closed at 8pm. Then, I went back for more on Monday (afterall, you don't have to pay to get into the giftshops or the cafes). If you do get a little tired of the glass, or just need a change, there is a free shuttle bus to the historic Market St in the town of Corning. It is an architourist's dream.
There are interactive displays, tours, demos, special collections, discussions, history, science and art. There are hands on classes you can take and make your own glass. The glassblowing demonstrations are full of wow factor and heat and interesting facts and a rather large bowl or vase or plate at the end of 15 minutes (and a raffle after the last one of the day. I didn't win either time). Every demonstration was different enough that I learned something new at each of the five or six demos I went to.
I didn't even bother trying to get pictures of the glass (okay, maybe I did try a couple of times) but it is notoriously difficult to photograph glass, espcially glass that sits on glass shelves inside glass cases with lots of bright lights shining on it. So I bought a book.
the works of one man, Frederick Carder
a table with a huge ship on it. for what purpose, I know not.
this mosaic has thousands of tiny pieces of glass
(this is only 1/3 of it)
I was thinking of this blog post, so took some photos during the glassblowing demonstration.
a small amount of this molten glass goes on this blowing rod. it is easier to blow the glass than a balloon (so they say)
you must always keep turning the rod, or gravity will deform the glass
into the fire, many times, in order to keep the temperature of the glass high so it can be shaped. the oven is about 2100 degrees. you could feel the heat from 15 rows away
an assistant gets another rod with molten glass and together they attach it to make a base. later another hot rod will be attached to this base and the glass will be cut awayfrom the first rod, then quickly back into the fire to reheat. it is spun around so that it expands and the top of the bowl can be shaped.
in this case, he is making a bowl that resembles a handkerchief (not the same bowl as above)