Acuity Installation, part 2, It’s Done!

That moment when Bob installed the last pieces on the first sphere was very sweet. With one down and one to go we left the first sphere to the expertise of Alfredo and Bob and went to sample some of Wisconsin’s  famous fried cheese curds…

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bob puts the last few pieces into the top…

 

 

I don’t have any pictures of those cheese curds for you. They were gone that fast! Hard work, anticipation and satisfaction coupled with deliciousness make for big appetites and they were gone in a blink.

 

 

The spheres are endlessly fascinating as they transform. One of the things that draws artists towards working with this kind of project is the way they seem to grow and transform organically into their final shapes as they are assembled.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
looking through one open panel into the other side and seeing the sphere from the inside out

 

 

Even after the months spent making the thousands of glass horns and steel pins and washers and clips, and testing and re-testing the fits – it just doesn’t stop being beautiful as it passes through the stages towards completion.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Each time you look down at the piece it is different and beautiful.

After that the process seemed to flow like water. The employees at Acuity came by on their lunch breaks to remark on the work and the progress and we really relaxed into the rhythm of the work.

 

 

 

one-down-second-on-the-way
With one sphere completed we begin to make real progress on the second

 

 

 

 

As we worked on the second sphere it was hard to keep from looking over as Alfredo and Bob of Hennes worked to hoist and then secure the first sphere into it’s final mount about 25′ above.

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bob of Hennes making the switch from temporary to permanent mounts. Nerve-wracking!

 

 

 

 

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Alfredo of Hennes keeps a watchful eye

 

its coming for you....
Just playing with amazing backlight and some tilt shift …

After 6 days in Sheboygan we finally installed the last pieces on the last sphere. Alfredo and Bob from Hennes were standing by to hoist and secure the sphere and we were rushing to pack our tools into one little crate to ship home and pack ourselves off to the airport.

Flag at Acuity Insurance
rather grand isn’t it?
Read about this gigantic flag at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acuity_Insurance

Ben Salzmann, President and CEO of Acuity Insurance company came and filled our pockets with Acuity goodies for the plane ride home. I’m wearing that sweatshirt as I type this! And Kurt Lodl took us into the hardhat area to see the progress on the campus’ next expansion. So, thank you to Ben Salzmann, who started this whole big idea, and Sheri Murphy, Vice President of Services and Administration, who administered through all the process (thank you) and Kurt Lodl and all the rest of the Acuity team who were so kind and welcoming. We look forward to working with you all again soon!

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
One of the original Blue Spheres

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3 of the original 7 sisters by Belle Mead Hot Glass for Acuity Insurance company
This gif of the spheres was originally captured on the app Fyuse. Look for #bellemeadhotglass on Fyuse and post your images back to us

Check out #bellemeadhotglass on your social media of choice. The above video is a 3D photograph when viewed on the free app FYUSE. They don’t sponsor us or anything, we just love to share images of this stuff in 3 dimensions. If you have a great picture of something from Belle Mead Hot Glass post it to us on Instagram, Fyuse, Facebook, Houzz and hashtag it #bellemeadhotglass or email it to us here at the website. It would mean alot to us if you did.

Almost! Acuity Installation, the last step, part 1

And so, after three and a half months of constant work and preparations we had the Acuity installation extension ready to go.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
We are going to fill this truck!

10 Pallets composed of 8 double-tall boxes each, measuring 4′ x 4 x 7′ plus the two metal spheres were assembled on our loading dock and carefully maneuvered onto an air ride trailer. For this kind of installation we simply hire the entirety of a truck. Moving this fragile load and coordinating the meetings between the glass and ourselves and the crews onsite can be a tricky thing. So, working with one driving team and their representatives can simplify things for us. This time, our driver was great and stayed in contact with us throughout the 48 hours that the transit took. He even stopped to text and see that we were ok when a storm caused flight delays on what he anticipated would be our route. And do you know what? It was a good thing he did, because we were delayed! It is a pleasure to work with people who are so considerate and care so much about their job. (thanks Mekonen!)

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bob moving one of the many pallets for the installation as we create a little art logjam on the loading dock.

Here we are unloading the truck… This was a whole lot of glass to move and get sorted. Each box contained pieces assigned to a specific sphere, and further to a panel on the sphere. Much time was spent jockeying these all into position. We were very grateful for the continuous and thoughtful help of Kurt Lodl, the Director of Facility Projects.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
The spheres that looked so giant in the studio look cute in this space. But, they’re about to get nearly 6′ wider!

 

Although the staff here is pretty well qualified in hanging glass from ceilings… these spheres were big and also heavy!

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Alfredo and Bob the riggers from Hennes standing behind their lifts and making plans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luckily for us, we had two great riggers from Hennes. Alfredo and Bob were great and we were glad to have them there taking care of the hanging of the spheres. Initially, the spheres are suspended only about 5′ off the floor. This allowed us to start hanging the spheres from down low.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
The first sphere of this installation with the first panel installed. Only 39 panels and ooooh, about 2,886 pieces of glass to go.

 

 

Having the sphere within reach of the ground is a great deal easier than working on the scaffolds or lifts. After a few panels we began to get into the swing of things and find our flow.

 

 

 

 

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
and this is how we know where to put things…

 

 

 

That first day of hanging pieces was very long. Although we had tested and retested and trouble shot everything over and over back at the shop and this was even the second time we had installed these spheres for Acuity, there were still some nervous moments. But before long, our progress was evident even to our professional worrier and our system had proved itself.

 

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

The bottom panels of the first sphere completed, it looks ready to float away on a deep sea current.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this image you can see the second sphere in its temporary position further down the hall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The end of day one…

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Coming to the end of a day… See? it is always fascinating to look at!

Welcome to Fall!!!

 

 

 

I did say that I would have the pictures from the Acuity Insurance installation posted right away… I am almost caught up with photo edits… Promise!!!

 

But! for right now… Take a peek at the gallery and see what we’ve set up for our local shoppers for this Fall…

 

We always do a glass pumpkin patch.  Glass pumpkins make a great centerpiece.  They’ll never get squishy on the bottom and leave a ring on your mantlepiece!

Gourds in a topaz charger
Gourds in a topaz charger

 

Gourds are fun for us to make each year… Trying to form glass in the wild and wacky shapes of our favourite gourds is a fun challenge the staff in the hotshop looks forward to every year.

 

 

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Acorns and Grape clusters are also in season and make wonderful gifts if you are visiting your friends for some holiday dinners…grape-ornaments

 

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Pumpkin wine bottle stoppers dress up a bottle of wine…

 

 

 

 

                                                                               And Ghosties!file_008

                                                                          Come and pick out one of our little friendly ghosts for yourself!

 

Soon we’ll be switching over to icicles and candy canes and Christmas balls and I really will post all of the pictures from the Acuity Insurance installation…Pinky Swear!

 

 

About two years ago we finished the installation of one of the previous blog topics: this set of sculptures in the lobby of Embassy Suites at LAX.

These sculptures (they are spot lit from below instead of lit from within) were designed to bring some color and light to this very large, very tall atrium.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

Although the space is not too high to hang them from the ceiling, due to earthquake considerations, it was determined that they wold be most secure if mounted on these metal poles.
Recently we we flew back out to LA to set do a little work on these three pieces and thought it would be a good time to update that blog…

 
The atrium of the hotel had undergone a huge renovation during the intervening years. And, although the sculptures were often draped the dust had accumulated through the renovating and redecorating process. This type of cleaning isn’t often necessary, but after such a messy and complex renovation it is often a good idea to finish the redecorating process with a deep clean of the work. And so, with the cleaning and re-hang already on the table we began talking about any changes that the hotel might wish to make.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

The atrium had been changed over from a warm pale gold tone to be subtle ecru with warm dark wood and blue accents. The colors of the glass still functioned beautifully in place. In the morning they glow like little suns and in the evening, when the glass ceiling above is dark and the sculptures are lit from below, they create a warm, cozy feeling inside the giant space of the atrium. But, this was an ideal opportunity to add just that kind of touch that finishes a space.

 

 

In consultation with the designers and decorators, investors and management we chose to integrate a small amount of blue into the sculptures. To do this we worked in two colors of blue. These blues, when viewed in various lighting conditions, blend the blues of the new accent colors thoroughly into the glass.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

 

 

After taking all of the glass down, we cleaned each piece with glass cleaner and soft cloths and then began to re-hang the chandelier. As we re-hung the pieces we intermixed the two blue tones and the new blue plates in proportion with the red and yellow and orange that comprised the originals.

 

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

Overall the effect is striking. At night, when the chandelier is lit from below, the effect is much more dramatic than before. And during the day the bright spots of blue definitely catch your eye and connect the glass more closely to the accents scattered throughout the great atrium space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

 

 

 

We’re recently begun tagging posts on a new app called Fyuse. This app allows us to show you a great 3-dimensional view of a chandelier. It’s free and a whole lot of fun. If you download it, just search for the hashtag #bellemeadhotglass. Hope to see you there!

New Sealife Installation…it grows…

The Sealife series of chandeliers and sculptures began in 2014 and has been a constant source of interest and discovery for the team at Belle Mead Hot Glass. Because we are evoking a maritime landscape each time there is tremendous variation between the installations.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

The first Sealife piece was composed of many different very deep greens with accents in tones of blue and pink and. It had a very deep sea feel to it. Very large and hanging very high this first chandelier has very large sculptural forms meant to be seen form a distance.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

 

 

Later on, we began to add complimentary pieces throughout the home and began to add smaller and more highly detailed pieces to each chandelier in order to set a scene at eye level.

 

 

 

 

One of the fascinating things about this series is the way the end reflects the ocean as it exists in the imagination of the client. Deep sea underwater greens and bright sun drenched tropical pastels are equally “ocean” and it is an endless process of discovery to explore what visuals “sealife” brings to mind to each new client. Bob and the staff here work with the clients to develop their palette for the installation and then we start to bring it to life.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

Recently we installed a new sealife chandelier on the intercoastal waterway in Florida. The clients were building their dream home and of course, wanted to include the flora and fauna of the ocean that most spoke to them. Sometimes Art is a very public statement of an idea and sometimes it is more personal. The Sealife series has led to some very personal art as clients have come to us with their favorite memories of nature and holidays and asked us to incorporate them into the chandelier.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

Here on the Beaches of New Jersey we often have Sand Dollars, for this chandelier we had a special request for Sea Biscuits. Now we
have some knowledge of a very famous horse by that name and we’ve heard songs and stories about eating “hardtack” but Sea Biscuits as an aquatic creature? This lead to a little online research which then led to enormous amounts of time online watching videos that ranged from youtube clips of seashell finds to a binge of classic Cousteau watching. Sea Biscuits are puffy Sand Dollars and they are both Sea Urchins! And that is part of whats is so entrancing about this series…it’s not just the little details, it’s the bigger picture and the little details blending in and out and leading you to think of things you never did before.

 

 

 

 

In case you’re wondering more about Sea Biscuits…

the creature…

http://echinoblog.blogspot.com/2012/03/sand-dollars-are-sea-urchins-please.html

 

and the very sturdy snack…

http://ageofex.marinersmuseum.org/downloads/biscuit_recipe.pdf

 

Glass Master of the Universe…

Recently while scrolling through my Facebook feed I came across a video of a young glassblower.  This up-and-coming young man started in my shop quite a few yeears ago.  And, having been absorbed in my own work, I was startled to see how much he has developed as an artist.

from Jakes Treasure Series of Vases... http://www.hotglassalley.com/glassware/glass-series/treasure-series/
from Jake’s Treasure Series of Vases…
http://www.hotglassalley.com/glassware/glass-series/treasure-series/
https://www.artfulhome.com/artist/Jake-Pfeifer-Hot-Glass-Alley-LLC/8582
https://www.artfulhome.com/artist/Jake-Pfeifer-Hot-Glass-Alley-LLC/8582

In about 2004 or 2005, a father began dropping in to the shop. He said he had a son who passionately wanted to learn to blow glass. And he said his son would do anything, sweep, tidy, pack, if he could just get a chance to be around glass. Mike (the father) told me his son didn’t care if he got paid, he was just on fire to learn about glass. Well, we weren’t hiring at that moment; but, Mike continued to drop by and get to know us all over at the shop. And then, one day, we had an opening and Jake Pfiefer was hired. I have never had an unpaid member of staff. I do believe that if a person is willing to work they should be paid for their efforts.

http://www.sweetheartgallery.com/products/hot-glass-alley-jake-pfeifer-shell-swedish-cerulean-blue-bowl-artistic-handblown-glass
http://www.sweetheartgallery.com/products/hot-glass-alley-jake-pfeifer-shell-swedish-cerulean-blue-bowl-artistic-handblown-glass

For the next few years Jake worked hard in the cold-working shop processing and packing the glass we had made the day before. But, he always kept his eye on the hotshop. Eventually, Jake’s persistence paid off again and he began to work in the hotshop. First, he worked putting the little glass loops on each ornament or chandelier piece. This is the first rung on the ladder in the hotshop; it’s not a big step up, but it got him in the hotshop.

 

Over time, as with most employees who are ambitious, Jake moved on to bigger and better things. This doesn’t always happen, most people who start in glass give up somewhere along the way. For many reasons glass is a very difficult medium to master. The pitfalls can be enormous. The heat in summer alone is enough to bar the way for many people. The expense of working in glass is daunting, as is the ability to master technique and find proper instruction and training. But, as is true with so many things, there are always a few who rise to the top and achieve a level unimagined just a few years before. Sometimes they rise because of some innate ability, luck and opportunity certainly have something to do with it and sheer determination will often bring success. Sometimes, its a combination of all three.

http://www.hotglassalley.com/product/wedding-reticello-bowl/
http://www.hotglassalley.com/product/wedding-reticello-bowl/

It has been many years since Jake left us to continue on his path as a glass artist. I had never really stopped to imagine how far he would get. Over the years I’ve followed his progress though friends and social media but although I was glad to hear he was still at it and proud of what I knew of his progress it wasn’t until the other day that I got to see how far his work has progressed. Jake has assembled a body of work that utilizes many difficult and complex techniques that only work when done well. He has developed true command over the forms he creates and a great sense of color. Who knows, maybe he will be the next “Glass Master of the Universe” ?

 

 

http://www.artsbusinessinstitute.org/artists/artist-profile-jake-pfeifer/
http://www.artsbusinessinstitute.org/artists/artist-profile-jake-pfeifer/

 

 

(special thanks to all the staff who have worked with Belle Mead Hot Glass over the years, all success and never stop trying to be the next “Glass Master of the Universe”)

 

 

Here is that video of Jake, take a look!


Coming up next?

  • installations in Florida
  • Instllations in LA
  • Installations in Wisconsin

And, “how to train your dragon” or “maintaining a glass furnace!”

 

Dusty grapes…

With all of the chandeliers we’ve hung over the years we field a fair amount of enquiries about how to keep them clean.

Recently we have gotten quite a few questions about the various chandelier cleaning sprays on the market.  If you haven’t seen them, these spays are a solution meant to be sprayed onto a chandlier while it is still hanging in place.  The piece doesn’t have to be disassembled and taken down but you do need to make sure that the power to the light is off.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

Recently we decided to give one of the sprays a try and see if it would work well for us here at the shop.  There is a whole lot of glass hanging here and keeping it clean takes quite a bit of time.  Especially in environments like the shop, or kitchens, or outdoors, dirt can build up quickly.

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
The dusty grapes hanging in place in the hotshop. After a few years of feather dusters it was time to give this cluster a more thorough going over…

For our trial run with these sprays we chose Brillianté brand spray based on the simple fact that we were able to buy it a gallon at a time.  The 20 ounce squirt bottle looked awfully small with the hot shop full of glass as a backdrop…

After flipping the breaker for this chandelier we set up this little pump sprayer, put down a drop cloth and set up two ladders.  We used two ladders because, as it notes on the back of the Brillianté packaging, you should avoid twisting a chandelier.  The electrical wires do not like the twisting!

 

The packaging said to let the chandelier drip dry for 30-60 minutes and then absorb excess moisture with a chamois.  In the heat of the shop, especially near the ceiling the chandelier wouldn’t stay wet for more than 10 minutes.  The first time we let it dry quickly, but we realized it didn’t have enough time wet for the solution to work. So, we tried a second time spraying it every 10 minutes for 30 minutes so it had plenty of time for the Brillianté to saturate.  Then we dabbed the drips off the tips of the pieces and let it finish drying.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Those dusty grapes up close…

 

We left the piece turned off over the whole weekend and then gave it a look on Monday.  It definitely looks better.  Much of the surface dust had run off exactly as the spray had promised. But the chandelier was definitely not clean.

 

Bulk sized cleaner for the shop with our hnady pump sprayer...
Bulk sized cleaner for the shop with our hnady pump sprayer…

The environment of the shop creates a constant draft and air from the fields around the shop is sucked in through large doors constantly.  Also, the temperature changes as we turn furnaces off and on daily can vary by 100, this leads to really thick layers of condensation which kind of glues the dust down to things. This is pretty similar the situation of many of the chandeliers we’ve hung in restaurants.  For these chandeliers the only way to really restore their look will be a quick take down and re-hang.  That said the amount of dust the spray removed was astounding and it gave the surfaces it could clean (mostly those areas that were easily reached by our dusters on a regular basis) a very brilliant shine.

 

 

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
After the spray… and a little additional elbow grease.

 

For home use and as regular maintenance this spray would be perfect.  For glass hung in more extreme environments there just isn’t a substitute for a gentle little scrub.  But, in those cases the re-hang does give us an opportunity to do things like check over wiring that may have been exposed to rain and snow, or fish out leaves or the occasional paper airplane.  We also tend to use these servicings as a time to look at the chandelier again and see if it needs a little refresh.  We often end up taking out a color and bringing in a new one or adding a new shape. Recently we have been transitioning many older chandeliers to LED lighting and we’ve begun to see some requests for color changing LED.

 

Over the next few weeks we’ll be showing doing just this type of service on a few unlit garden sculptures and we’ll have pictures of the whole process for you.  And, we’ll be assembling a chandelier made especially to feature color changing effects and showcasing a few that we’ve done this way in the past.

 

It’s Really Heating Up in Here…

This week has been the warmest so far this summer here at the shop.  We’re not really sure how warm because the thermometer stops at a certain point…

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Thermometer

The heat is often part of what draws people in to glass blowing…

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
The Dragon!

 

 

It seems scary, and somewhat dangerous, but it sets this work apart.  Glassblowers reading this post may roll their eyes at this.  It’s considered uncool to complain about the heat in the glass blowing world. After all, it’s this warm everyday in some places…

 

 

That said we do pay close attention to hydration.  We use lots of fans and cooling stations where we can take a moment to cool down.  After all, we’re not crazy!

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Citrus and Green Tea

 

 

This last week has been a flurry of activity .  With alterations to be made to an existing installation in California and a new set of installations in Florida upcoming over the next two weeks we are working double-time to keep pace with our scheduled project in Wisconsin…

 

 

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

 

Blowing Up Balloons…

Blowing up Balloons…

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

 

Over the years I’ve made a few different sizes of Balloons in glass and a few different styles…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But, despite the complexity of the Dean Koons style animal sculptures, or the functionality of the hummingbird feeders I am constantly called back to the most traditional of forms.  There is something about the juxtaposition of the expectation of a balloon with the startling reality of the balloon in glass that delights people.

*********************************************************************************************************

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bob watches…
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
before the balloon is blown out

When I began to make them they felt so laborious.  Each balloon was a struggle and I worked for a long time to improve the essential “Ballooness” of the pieces.  I made many balloons learning to handle the glass in such a way that the shape really looked like rubber filling with gas, so that the knot seemed like a real knot and so that the top of the balloon had just the contour and feel that I was looking for. Over time the process has become very natural. As I work I lwatch each one take shape in a way that will be familiar to anyone who has blown up a balloon part way and then stopped and held it away from themselves to see their progress…

 

 

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
punching a hole through the top of the balloon with a tungsten rod

 

 

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

 

I think most of the balloons I’ve made over the years are hung inside.  I know that they are often found in nurseries, in care spaces for children and frequently given at weddings.  I wonder if anyone out there has pictures of balloons I’ve made hanging somewhere in their life?

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
balloons against the sky

My favorite placement of the balloons that hang here at the shop is those that hang outside the shop.  They are survivors, these balloons, and we can see them silhouetted against the sky at any time of day or any time of year looking as if they are just about to break free and sail off on a grand adventure…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X 2

 

What does it take to put together a project like these spheres?

 

First the concept, drawings and sketches, color choices, engineering and ordering materials; but then comes the actual assembly….

 

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

 

 

 

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

 

 

Each sphere is composed of 20 triangular panels measuring  3′ x 3′ x 3′.  Each Panel is composed of 184 separate pieces of steel.  Each of those is cut to length, and then prepped for welding.  112 pieces of steel make up the panel.  Each of these is welded at both ends and then the individual pins to hold the glass are welded on…

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

This is 296 welds per panel. With twenty panels per sphere and then the welds to attach the panels to each other, it works out to about 6,020 welds per sphere.  All done by Scott after we have emptied the crucible for the day blowing that days allocated assortment of the 13 sizes of Horns in the 4 colors we are working with for this project.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
coldworked and ready for sorting…

When the crucible is emptied and we have begun to charge the furnace with raw glass to work with for the next day, Scott begins his work in the metal shop.  Kelly goes to work sorting and labeling the last day’s glass by size, polishing the sharp ends and sorting them into the set which will belong to each panel. Each panel has 72 individual horns and a sphere has 20 panels.  Each sphere will have 1,440 individual horns. Also, each panel will have 1,140 urethane bumpers cast here in the shop

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob runs between Scott and Kelly, answering questions, speeding processes along, telling everyone not to worry and worrying about everything himself.  Running the operation smoothly requires someone who understands how to do each step.  Someone has to keep an eye on the overall goal.  And of course, someone has to work with the myriad of contacts required to work on a large installation in a busy construction project…

 

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

When all of the panels are done, they are welded together into the sphere.  Then the sphere is painted.  As is anything else nearby…

 

 

 

 

 

Once the paint is dry each of the 1,140 pins is sheathed in vinyl and given a bumper and a custom bracket to secure the glass.

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then we reach today…

Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844
Bellemead Hot Glass, Robert Kuster,Hillsborough NJ 08844

All of this times two!