This Wednesday I am doing some live torchworking at my local elementary school where my friend runs the Sun program. Its family night and the gym is always crazy with pumpkin paint and pizza. I am torchworking outside, I've done this for 4 or 5 years now, making little halloween trinkets for the kids while they watch and the parents can buy them as a fund raiser for the school library.
Kids cannot resist a flame, and they are intrigued by glass. I must admit, I agree with them!
So every year I try and do something different (especially since the kids remind me each year of what silly thing I made the year before, and they come back expecting something new to add to their collection, happily listing to me what they already have). And may I add, I have to make something fast and efficient and not tooo boring (is it possible for glass to be boring? yes). Because the kids line up, snake-tailing around and waiting not-so-patiently for their turn to buy a little thing that I have made. Yes seriously folks, its kinda crazy. I've tried bringing things I've made in advance (one year I did orange and black beads - soft glass beads so they had to be annealed - and then I strung them on a headpin and put each one on a key chain for the kids - I didn't want them to swallow the beads! - and I did all this in advance so the kids could simply buy them, no waiting around in line for me to make one for each kid) and honestly they were confused and not so pleased that I would not allow them to buy the beads I was making as demonstrations.
So its gotta be borosilicate, its gotta be small (the littlest kids are not appropriate to buy the creations, I don't want them to eat them) its gotta be simple, fast and efficient - and its gotta be all about Halloween.
I did little pumpkins one year, and the next year glow in the dark ghost pendants, then little mushroom pendants (I figured the autumn type theme kinda seemed Halloween oriented - hey I was running out of ideas!), and last year little orange and black beads.
This year I thought I'd make a couple of simple murini canes, so I can make the kids little marbles and simply pick up a little murini disc on the end of a clear gather. This process is super fast and pretty effective. Good for short attention spans and early bed times (family night for Halloween night - kids gotta get home and go to bed). Its impressive the way a tiny disc of color on the side of the glass looks like a pumpkin face when viewed through the marble - the optical effect is like a magnifying lens.
So the murinis I had in mind were a pumpkin face and a bat.
In these pictures you can see the canes that I made - they are not too spectacular but they get the point across. A recognizable pumpkin face (although he has a Snoopy nose and a weird smile) and a bat (the bat is pretty ghetto, but hey, it ended up looking like a bat!) the white bits you see in the picture are bubblesThe idea of a murini cane is that the image you see at the end of the rod continues down the length of the cane. You cut up the can into little discs and then each disc has the image on it. A flower murini would be called "Millifiori", Italian for "millions of flowers" as each can could be cut up into millions of little flowers.
So on Wednesday I will make marbles for the kids at Shaver Elementary. They will get to choose between bats and pumpkins. I'll bet the boys go for the bats. I don't know whether they will be pleased with my little creations, I just hope they don't eat them or stick them up their noses!
You know the best part of this: the kids are all in costume - so I get to see all the little ones in their outfits, its quite cute. Makes me squeal occasionally.