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Glass Blower Fires Up for Festival

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Friday, September 14, 2012

The third annual Autumn and Art fair kicks off at Bradley Fair Friday.

Artists from across the country will be coming to Wichita, to display their pieces to the public.

From paintings and pottery, to jewelry and metalworks, it will all be available for purchase.

One of the artist's talents may just blow you away.

Scott Hartley has found a way to turn a hobby, into a profession.

"First thing you have to do is start with a pipe that's hot," said Hartley, owner of Infinity Art Glass in Benton.

Thirteen years ago, he started his glass blowing business, Infinity Art Glass.

Most of the time he works alone in his garage, but this weekend his talent will be on display.

"They don't get a chance to actually see how it's made, which I think is just as beautiful as the end product," Hartley said.

The furnace is kept heated at 2,000 degrees.

"What I do is spin the pipe through the glass, and pick up a layer," Hartley explained.

From there, it's time to add the color.

The glass comes in a variety of shades, and sizes.

"Little bit more amber, the only way to really know how much to pick up is through experience," Hartley said.

After being reheated, the chips of colors form polka dots, a design Scott does not want in this particular piece.

"This is going to turn into streaks of color rather than dots of color," Hartley said.

To build size, layering is essential.

Scott moved back and forth between the reheating chamber, and the colored glass to create the desired look.

"I've got the size I want, and all the color design, now it's just a matter of the final shape," Hartley said.

To create the final shape, Scott stretched the glass by swinging it.

As the glass cools, it stiffens up.

"Just reading the movement of the glass," Hartley said.

In the last step, the glass is removed from the pipe.

"When I tap the pipe it's going to send vibrations up there and snap the piece off," Hartley said.

And placed in the oven to equalize the temperature of the whole piece. After two days, the glass will cool to room temperature.

"It's amazing, I mean I'm amazed by it it and I've been doing it for 13 years," Hartley said.

Scott's work will be available at the Autumn and Art Festival at Bradley Fair this weekend.

It runs through Sunday, and about 80 artists from across the country will participate.

For more information, there is a link posted below.


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