Mental health break: traditional glassblowing


"we find ourselves constantly experimenting and pushing the boundaries. . . the really great thing about our business is the fact that we take raw materials, and we design, we color, we make. . . and we have complete control of the process. It's very gratifying."

Danny Cooke, maker of the short documentary about glass painting that I featured last October, has a new short film to distract you this Sunday. It's about a team of glassblowers, Mark Tranter, Patricia Tranter-Edmonds, and Lee James, who set up a small studio in a historic stableyard in Cockington Village, UK. The first three minutes are background, and you may get a little fidgety, but then it's time for those slow, hypnotic closeups where Cooke excels: glass dripping from long rods, or rolled through crushed bits of color; a vase rhythmically swung like a pendulum, upside-down, to lengthen its neck; a square blue vase cut to length on a circle saw, under a shower of sparking water (what the glass artists call "coldwork").

Once again, Cooke features music composed by Tony Higgins, who contributed a delicate, chimelike score last time, but here offers a more rhythmic, meditative, occasionally dissonant accompaniment to the molten glass. Glasswork is so intimate and primal, it's disconcerting to step back at the end of the video to the tiny, touristy studio, and realize that all of this is taking place in a little white giftshop, in full view of dozens of people - and Cooke's camera, and us:

OurGlass of Cockington from Danny Cooke on Vimeo.

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