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Chicken Coop: The Swarm – Glass Crafting Class


The swarm was a glass crafting class held at 8th wonder studio in North Phoenix. Shuhbuh Chase and special guest Hendy were the teachers for this amazing gathering of heady masters. The class lasted 3 days and would cover a multitude of techniques from beginner to pro. The class was relatively small, which for me was nice as it allowed me the opportunity to get up close with these heady pros and ask lots of questions and get tons of great photos. Shuhbuh , Chase, and Hendy were all exceptionally nice and answered all of my questions.  On top of that, it included meals and there was even a raffle at the end for some heady glass.

The Swarm - Stoney, Otto, and Frosty

Stoney, Otto, and Frosty


PRE-CLASS

For me, the day started out with a quick trip to the Frostysfresh headquarters to pick up Frosty and Otto of Hoodratshit. After snatching the boys up, we grabbed some coffee and headed to class.

Once at the studio we met some of the guys that would be in our class and signed in.  The studio itself is amazing. Everywhere you look there is a heady rig or pendant. I was particularly blown away by the Salt shot glass collection they have.  

The work stations at 8th wonder are something to marvel over as well. As a welder, I love good ventilation. It was a lot of fun to see all the different artists busting out heady glass. 8th wonder is home to Chase, Erkels glass, Shuhbuh and other bad ass artists.  While there I was, lucky enough to meet Dorian of Orian glass. You never know who might walk through those doors.

After The 3 masters (Shuhbuh, Chase and Hendy) discussed their game plan and selected colors, they had us all gather around a large metal work table and officially started the class.

The Swarm - Hendy, Chase, Shuhbuh

DAY 1

Shuhbuh introduced himself, Chase and Hendy. He then explained his vision for the class and what he hoped to accomplish as well as what he hoped we would take away from it.  The class would cover techniques from beginner all the way to professional techniques on bridging and large assembly. Shuhbuh talked about each of their backgrounds in the industry and how each of them got started. They talked about the torches and tools they use and the differences between each of their styles. Both Shuhbuh and Hendy rock a Herbie Torch while Chase uses a GTT Kabuki. Each of the Torches offer the user different advantages. Chase will be needing the power of the GTT to pull the Vac stacks that they need for the build while Shuhbuh and Hendy use the bushy “love makin flame” of the Herbie for each of their unique sculpting styles.

The Swarm - Hendy Creates Alien Head

After introductions and Shuhbuh’s vision for the class, they began the prep work. Shuhbuh started with coil pots. Watching Shuhbuh coil pot was simply amazing. The control he has when winding up molten glass is out of this world. He explained that Hendy and himself coil pot unlike most people. He would later use these to make the abdomen of the queen. After that, he worked on the legs and showed us some bridging tech.

Hendy sculpted his signature alien head. For me watching him sculpt was epic. Seeing how he manipulates the glass was simply mind blowing. He literally makes it look so simple. He then worked on other smaller skulls and built flat horns for the shrine.


The Swarm - Stretching a Vac Stack

While Hendy and Shuhbuh worked on the body and other components Chase was building prep. He was busy putting two vac stacks together so he could begin building horns and orbs for the shrine. If you have never seen a vac stack done, it will probably blow your mind. It takes a lot of preparation before you are even able to put flame to glass. The process begins by stacking colored rod around a larger clear rod inside of a 50 mm clear tube. After putting these in the kiln for well over an hour chase begins the long process of heating the tube of glass and sucking all of the air out and fusing it into one large piece of glass. After attaching handles to both sides and heating the large gather completely he pulls it into large stringers of glass. It takes two people to achieve this. One person holds it as high up as they can while the other stretches it to the ground. After the first pull they cut down pieces into rods and begin heating the knuckles to pull more color rod.

DAY 2


The Swarm Collab

On the second day of the Swarm things started to come together. Shuhbuh began assembly  of the mouth piece while Hendy and chase both worked on Horns, Marias and orbs for the shrine.  

Watching these guys grind out all the components was inspiring. It’s good to know that not everything they make is perfect. While watching them build the parts I watched as all of them would not be satisfied with something and they would just simply start over. The shear patience was mind blowing. After what seemed like hours Shuhbuh began the assembly of the shrine. As he connected each piece, he would explain the importance of the bridge and also just taking your time. As with any large build, this one went late into the night. At around midnight, I decided to call it a day and get some sleep. When I left they were getting ready to put on the base of the shrine.

DAY 3

The Swarm Collab 2

As I pulled in on day 3, I was excited and nervous to see if everything had gone to plan. I knew that the guys had been there till very late working hard to get the collab done in time for the showing that night. When I walked in, I found only Shuhbuh and a couple of students. Shuhbuh smiled and pointed to the kiln. He said they had to make some minor adjustments at the end but everything turned out great. I was like a kid peeking into the kiln to catch a glimpse of the monster shrine they had built.  Shuhbuh then began sculpting some of his signature monster head pendants. After watching him for another hour I went home to melt some glass myself. 

Later that night we all got back together for the Gallery Showing of the collab they had built and other pieces from each artist. The shrine collab between Shuhbuh Hendy and Chase was stunning. Surrounding the collab was work from each artist. You really needed to be there to fully appreciate the work that these guys do. Each piece is unique in its own way and at the same time specific to each artist. It was on honor and privilege to spend the weekend with these masters of glass and learn from them.

THE SWARM – MY CONCLUSION

I really can’t say enough good things about 8th wonder studio. They went out of their way to make sure we had everything we needed to enjoy ourselves in a completely chill environment. Each day, they provided us with all of our meals as well as anything else we might need. They had a raffle for a pendant made by Shuhbuh on the second day and on the third day after the showing, they raffled off a Collab between shuhbuh and Chase.  

If you are interested in learning to blow glass, this is the place for you. They offer classes for all levels of Glass Crafter and also have a full supply of color and clear glass. If you are in the market for a heady rig, this is the place to come. They have glass from damn near everyone. Priced from Modest to Heady they have something for you from local glass artists. The Swarm was an amazing experience and I can’t wait for the next class they offer.


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