Glass blowing wheels into Prince George

If you come too close she'll swat your hand away just as if you were one of the many annoying wasps that seem to be anywhere people are during these very smokey Prince George days.

Mandy Patchin, who's got family here but now lives in Calgary, offers the Glass House Xperience, that's in a mobile unit, to newcomers who are invited to take their turn at glassing blowing.

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Yes, the temperatures rise to 1200 degrees Celsius in the oven and yes, there's molten glass hovering on a stick close to your person, and no, nobody's ever been hurt - and now you know why she'll swat you if you get too close.

Patchin offers a variety of classes that range from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on what the student would like to create. Half an hour gets you a sturdy glass or a couple of ornaments or paperweights, while the longer classes will take you through the creative process of making a vase.

Patchin, who has about 20 years of experience, decided to take her glass blowing on the road to raise awareness of the fine art of glass blowing, which is a little known or experienced art in Canada.

"The reason I put it on wheels is so that we can share the art with as many people as possible," Patchin said, who was able to take her mobile glass-blowing unit to the Calgary Stampede this year. "That was crazy, stressful, fun and super exciting all rolled into one. I had 17 employees with me and thousands of people got to see glass blowing."

During the classes Patchin, who brought employeesr to her Prince George temporary location, provides one-on-one instruction with each student.

"We work individually with each of them and we're walking you through the whole process," Patchin said. "And always reminding you that everything's hot, and sometimes when people are standing in front of the glory hole - that's what it's called in the textbooks - I didn't name it - I think some German guy did - so that blows over 1,000 degrees and people do get hot working with glass. And I have swatted people's hands away and made others sit on their hands."

Nobody gets burned.

New to the art, Denise Wasnik dragged husband Don to the glass blowing Saturday afternoon and they each made a drinking glass.

"I didn't expect it to be such a sturdy glass, you'd really have to try hard to break that thing," Don laughed. He added everyone should try it once - like something you'd check off your bucket list.

There was a lot of heat coming off the completed piece and as he passed his hand over it, it held the heat for a very long time, Don said.

"It was an amazing, unique experience and I hope Mandy comes back next year so we can make more glasses," Denise said.

Thinking ahead to the first time they use their glasses and what that will look like Denise said she knows she's going to be proud of her work.

"We'll see if it holds water," Don joked.

"We'll see it if holds gin," laughed Denise.

Denise looked at Don and made a mock toast to the anniversary they'll celebrate later this year.

"To 30 years," she smiled.

They will definitely be back when the Glass House Xperience returns to Prince George next year.

"Maybe we can make a set of shot glasses," Denise said.

"Yeah, two-gallon ones," Don deadpanned.

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