José Godoy, originally from Venezuela, and former student at Colorado Rocky Mountain School, has found a passion for the ancient craft of blowing glass. Godoy, who now lives in Paris and worked at a glass studio there, had never blown glass before he took Dave Powers’ class at CRMS.
Glass melts at 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit. The furnace at the back of the studio heats 250 pounds of molten glass. Godoy leans in with a hollow steel rod, or blow pipe, and rolls it back and forth to “gather” the glass. Once out of the furnace it immediately begins cooling, so as he works Godoy will reheat it in a 2100-degree “glory hole” to keep the glass supple. The glass also needs to be in constant motion to retain its structure. If it stops moving it begins to “melt” like putty, collapsing and losing shape.
First, the molten glass is rolled on a steel table to give it a cylindrical form, as it ultimately will be a cup. Then Godoy gently blows into the tube, using a mouthpiece and hose clipped to his shirt so he doesn’t have to let go of the rod.
“The timing has to be perfect,” Godoy explains, as he pauses between blowing into the hose.
Another dip into the oven to reheat, and then Godoy begins using tools to give the glass shape and form, working from the base up. He then attaches a second rod to the bottom and gently breaks the top, creating the opening that he then begins shaping. If he is not precise or the glass cools too fast it will crystalize and break. The school recycles all the clear broken glass, melting it back down in the furnace. Once the piece is finished it is transferred to an annealer, a temperature-controlled 950-degree chamber, which slowly cools the glass, making it strong.
José Godoy and his beautiful works of glass can be found at the first couple of Aspen Saturday Markets this summer.