Monthly Archives: May 2008

I’m interrupting my little factory tour for some late breaking NEWS: the announcement of our 2008 e-merge award winners.

You can see all the finalists with the award winners highlighted here, but to cut to the chase, the WINNERS, announced at last night’s ceremony, are…….

Gold: Sabine Rosenberger, Germany, “Stealth B2″

Silver: Ruth Gowell, USA, “Optical Vase”

Bronze: Essi Utriainen, Finland (studying in Germany) “Idyll 2″

Academic Award: Sarah Vaughan/Southern Illinois University, USA, “Moment of Choice”

Kilncaster Award: Shane Caryl, USA, “Bernini’s Batman”

Newcomer Award: Saman Kalantari, Iranian (studying in Italy) “He Has Come Back”

Popular Prize: Heather Palmer, USA, “Black Coral”

The awards ceremony was attended by a crowd that exceeded both my expectations and my counting abilities. I’m sure that next week Mary Kay’s amazing administrative team will have it all tallied and reported upon. In the meantime, I am simply in awe of all involved: entrants (including the MANY incredible works that did not get into the finals); jurors (whose job was Herculean!); our team of admin & IT people (above and beyond as ever); and especially the remarkable audience of participants and their fans who came from around the world to celebrate this great event with us.

THANK YOU all….you are The Best!

After 16 hours of melting at about 2500F, the glass is ladled out of the tanks. By hand.

The casters need to move fast. As it gives off heat, the glass starts to set up. It needs to get to the rolling table before it’s too stiff to roll easily.

Bullseye operates two styles of rolling tables. The single-roller (shown here) consists of a water cooled steel table and one roller that flattens the glass across its surface. A caster spreads the gob of glass across the table in front of the roller to insure even coverage.

A single rolling table lets us make collage glasses like fracture-streamers, stringer glasses, etc., where the chips and/or threads of glass are composed on the table before the sheet is rolled.

On the second style of table, the double-roller, the glass is pressed between a pair of rollers, creating a sheet with more uniform top and bottom surfaces.

You may see either single- or double-rolling method as you speed across the casting floor…. on your way to the next stop on your factory tour…

Now imagine you’ve dashed past the mixing barrels and are darting across the hot shop floor, dodging guys running by with ladles of molten glass. Then you come face-to-face with this guy…

…operating something that looks like a cross between a howitzer and a speculum.

It’s called a screw charger. It’s used to feed the batch into the furnace. It takes about 90 seconds to charge the contents of a single barrel (350 lbs) into a furnace. We used to shovel the batch in by hand. The screw charger reduces dust and back aches.

Each furnace will get charged 6-10 times during its 16-hour melt cycle. You won’t get to watch. We have to keep moving. Remember, there are 349 other people behind you on this tour.

Speaking of factory tours, the 100 that went through last Monday was just a drill for the GAS-powered tsunami rolling in next month. On June 18 alone we’ll push, prod and pummel 350 people through the narrow gauntlet between batching, melting, forming, QC and shipping.

Maybe I’ll use the next few blogs to practice The Routine.

We mix the raw materials, called “batch”, in 55-gallon drums – about 120 of them each day.

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On Monday Dan & I toured close to 100 Portland Art Museum docents through the factory as part of their instruction in preparation for the Klaus Moje exhibition soon to open at the Museum.

Why are dozens of well-dressed women hanging out in a parking lot in Southeast Portland?

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Just about 6 weeks left until GAS arrives in Portland. The dull roar no longer seems so distant. What’s up?

E-merge (May 5 – July 25) has been installed and enjoyed its quiet launch yesterday. Live jurying and the awards reception (May 17) are still ahead, but it’s up, looks great and was visited yesterday by almost 100 docents from the Portland Art Museum, many voting for the Popular Prize.
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This weekend Chris Van Dyke responded to my request that – in spite of the end of his company and his cancellation of speaking engagements across the country – he still deliver the keynote address at GAS this June.

For the reasons given in my last post - and more – I truly believe that what Nau tried to do is critical in our world today – maybe even more so in the economic climate we are all living.

I am hugely grateful that he’s agreed to continue the dialogue – with us – at GAS.

We’ve all gotten them: the phone call that starts “I’ve got some bad news. You might want to sit down.”

I got one of those yesterday. It was the Exec Director of GAS.

“We just lost our keynote speaker for the conference. His business went under.”

Looking “Stealth” in the face. Geoff & Jeff install e-merge.

OK. First of all, I heard the sound of my heart cracking. I loved NAU. They were a business that was about more than just business. They had a new vision. Of community, of giving back, of good design married to sustainability.

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As proof that everything kewl isn’t done in Portland or by women, I offer as evidence this guy.

And his growing glass empire known as PHUZE that does all manner of stuff in the kiln, including some pretty wonderful custom architectural glass parts…

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