In the summer of 2010 Philip Jacobs, of Earth & Fire, commenced on a project like no other. Having worked in an open glassblowing studio for 10 years, he grew to understand the importance of demonstrations for his customers, and the subsequent connection they felt toward his work. After months of planning, Philip designed and fabricated a mobile glassblowing studio that would allow him to take his demonstrations on the road.
In October of 2010 "The Rig" made its debut at the Fryeburg Fair, a local agricultural fair, where Philip blew beautiful, multicolored glass pumpkins before large crowds of onlookers. Since then he's also blown glass at the League of NH Craftsmen's Annual Fair at Mount Sunapee, and the Paradise City Arts Festival in Northampton, MA. In the future, Philip plans to explore other opportunities in and around New England.
Glassblowing is a physically demanding craft. The intense heat from the glory hole and the heavy steel blow pipes are only the beginning. Once a large gather of molten glass is added to the pipe, the weight can amount to 15 lbs or more, and the radiant heat from the hot glass is smoldering. The long 8-12 hour days that Philip puts in at these fairs is enough to do anyone in. However, the entranced eyes, dropped jaws, and excited cheers from the audience re-energizes Philip throughout each long day.
The opportunity to see glassblowing is actually quite rare. The high cost of a glassblowing studio facility, paired with the experience and skill needed to be a successful glassblower has allowed only a handful of glassblowing studios to survive in each state. Philip is excited to bring the ancient process of glassblowing to a larger audience.