Artists-in-residence and the soul the glass center at the foundry, partners James Benson, Dan Millen, Jon Myers and Kelly Howard, and their patrons, felt the loss when the foundry's electric furnace cooled too quickly and the crucible, a vessel housed within the furnace that holds the molten glass, cracked. Myers and Howard explained the furnace could maintain enough heat for hours but ,eventually, despite wrapping the furnace in blankets, theirs was a lost cause, as the outage stretched into days.
A portion of the glass leaked onto the bottom of the furnace where it solidified. The crucible had to be jack-hammered loose from the bottom of the furnace, as did a blanket of glass several inches thick. In the process the high temperature castable, which lines the inside of the furnace, was damaged. Myers said he had to re-cast the lining of the furnace with new castable using wooden molds to form the wet-sand-like mixture while it dried. Then the inside of the furnace had to be re-lined with a fiberglass coating.
During the outage and in the days that followed the foundry was closed. Artists-in-residence contacted many of the people with appointments for classes to reschedule. Howard said, "The public was very understanding and we apologize for any inconvenience the closure may have caused to holiday visitors."
The furnace is currently restored to temperature and the foundry hopes to re-open Saturday, Dec. 30.
While clear glass is generally kept in the crucible, Myers and Howard said sometimes in the past color batches have been made, and it was the composite of stray materials and the molten clear glass spilling from the cracked crucible that solidified into beautiful blue and green striations on the bottom of the furnace.
The accidental artifact was chipped out and Myers and Howard said they have considered combining the resultant gem-like pieces to make something whimsical, perhaps a fountain.
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