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When it comes to thoughtful gifts, UrbanGlass breaks the mold.

On Jan. 27, the contemporary glass center held an open house with demonstrations and tours of its studio, 647 Fulton St., featuring a Valentine Sandcasting session. Visitors, for a fee of $45, were invited to make their own glass heart using sandcasting. The results were solid, three-dimensional hearts of glass (left, resting on a glove).

Instructor and master caster Mark Ferguson (bottom right) led the demonstration. First, Ferguson took a long stick, or "punti," and put it into the "glory hole," or furnace, to pick up the hot glass, according to Becki Melchione, Urban Glass’ associate development director. Visitor Frank Fela (bottom center) then heated up the graphite block mold, so the molten glass would not crack or stick when Ferguson poured it into the mold. After the glass was poured in, it was snipped free of the punti with scissors, and torched again to smooth out any wrinkles.

Melchione explained that all the glass used is clear, but colors can be added by dipping the molten glass into "frit," chunks of colored glass (bottom left). The final products were handmade gifts, sure to be cherished by many a Brooklyn valentine.

For an Urban Glass summer class schedule, including "hot casting" classes taught by Ferguson, call (718) 625-3685.

-Lisa J. Curtis

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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