Day 115 on the Road
Glass Blowing at the Hokitika Glass Studio
What do you do in Hokitika on a rainy day after a failed attempt at the Treetop Walk? Do some glass blowing at the Hokitika Glass Studio!
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Today despite the weather we are going to do one of the best outdoor activity in New Zealand but the equipment the cameras they don’t like it. Laura’s camera is dripping water. We can’t do today without doing an activity so what are we going to do?
So today it looks like it’s going to be a little bit of a challenge, it is raining a lot in fact it is rainy more than we have seen any kind of rain since the beginning of this trip so it’s pretty insane. We have planned to go to the West Coast Treetop Walkway which is an awesome place where you can walk basically above the canopy and we think it’s going to be pretty cool under the rain because we are going to see a bit more of a lively forest this time. Alright guys so we are at the Treetop Walkway and it is pouring down pouring down. But they have some pretty impressive umbrellas really big, really comfortable. So I think we can make it no matter the rain. Look at that.
we don’t usually let the rain stop us from doing anything and luckily at the West Coast Treetop Walk they have these epic umbrellas so we pick up a pair and head into the forest. The first section of the walk is taking us on the bottom of the forest with a few information signs along the way so we can learn about the birds and the vegetation, but the rain is relentless. I have become one with my umbrella.
And it seems that the rain is getting stronger and stronger and stronger by the minute. As soon as we arrive on the walkway we start being bashed by the rain. We are completely soaked and we spend our time trying to hide the camera under the umbrella and it really doesn’t do anything good for it. Laura’s camera is literally dripping with water while mine is completely soaking wet. I know that usually the cameras are supposed to withstand the water a little bit but this time it is not going to cut it whatsoever so what we decide to do is is to quickly pack the cameras and start making our way back toward the campervan. We have to figure something else out today.
But the West Coast Treetop Walkway did look really awesome so we’re super keen to come back tomorrow if the weather’s better to check it out but for now we are heading back to the hostel where we can change our clothes get ourselves some lunch and head back onto the town of Hokitika because today we need to find an activity to do. This is 365 Days: 365 Activities so we need an activity today. And at the last minute Robin plans for us to do some glass blowing of all things.
Anyone can walk into the Hokitika Glass Studio and get to watch those guys how that work but today we”re going to be doing something really special. They actually gave us the opportunity to go behind the scenes and try ourselves glass blowing so we’re meeting Barry and Anthony that’s going to show us a little bit how glass blowing works. First up you need to retrieve some really hot molted glass from a really hot oven. How hot you may ask? It’s actually 1127 degrees Celsius. That is super hot in my book. Then you put the glass into some sand or coloured kind of mixtures I’m not really 100% sure what that is and then you heat it again this helps give the shade into the glass. After that, it’s time for shaping it.
It’s so mesmerising watching them make these glass shapes and we’re trying to guess what they are making as they are going along. It’s all different types of animals so they’re making everything from kiwi birds to penguins, fish whales, koru, swans and my person favourite a penguin for the entire time Anthony needs to keep this rod rotating and not stop or else the glass will melt onto the floor and this is a skill that he has been honing for over 24 years. But the family business is telling us that they are currently hiring and they want to give us a try. Anthony is showing us one more time what to do he moulding a bit of a penguin right now he is burning it’s beak to make it more pointy and he’s completely rotating constantly so it doesn’t fall on the floor and then it’s our turn to try. After a couple of explanations I am going first into glass blowing business. Are you guys guessing what I’m going to be moulding right here?
The first step of our glass blowing apprenticeship is going to be to learn how to properly blow glass. So Anthony is preparing a glass blowing rod and our first exercise is going to be to trying to blow a perfect shape bubble this takes much more skills than you think of because you need to blow and exhale and inhale at the same time in a proper rhythm so the glass blowing doesn’t break or even collapse on itself.
So after a quick demonstration it’s my turn. I’ve quickly figures out that I need to blow much harder than what I thought. It actually takes a lot of air to get the first bubble coming out and every time I need to take some air it creates an indentation inside the bubbles because I end up exhaling more than inhale. It’s just crazy. So now it is my turn to blow some glass so here we go I am blowing as hard as I can and my glass is turning into the weirdest shape until it finally breaks at the end and we actually get to feel how thin glass can get. It feels like film.
So it turns out that Laura and I have failed our glass blowing apprenticeship they are not looking to hire us so we’ll have to stick to travelling around and telling you guys what are the awesome things to do everywhere.
But Anthony is not done showing off. He has some more skills to show off and it’s really cool because he has a little bit of a crowd. there is a bus of tourists that showed up and they are all behind him watching him create some amazing shapes. And the one that people love the most are the swans it’s always a big wow factor when he’s elongating the neck of the animal, it’s really cool. It’s incredible how much skills glass blowing takes and if you just look around the shop at the Hokitika Glass Studio you can just see some amazing creations made right here and it’s really awesome that you actually can come in here at any point and have a look at these guys working. And we’re getting ourselves a couple of really cute little animal souvenirs from the Hokitika Glass Studio, we get ourselves a penguin and a kiwi bird and then head off to a local cafe that’s been recommended to us. It’s a standard rainy day activity and feels so good.
And then we’re heading back to the Mountain Jade Backpackers this evening.
I’m like no I just told myself, no i just told myself, no just told myself, no i just told myself. This is not a technical difficulty this is just a technical difficulty with Robin.