The fifth-grade class from Green Fields Country Day School had the opportunity to visit the Philabaum Glass Studio, and everyone at school was so excited to go on the field trip.
The class was studying Tiffany glass and had already seen a movie about the studio, so we knew what to expect. There is only one Philabaum Glass Factory in the country: at 711 S. Sixth Ave.
When we got there, we first looked in the gallery. We saw some very interesting pieces. They were very expensive. Finally, we went into the factory. When we first entered, we all said “Oh! It’s hot” and “Can you turn on the air conditioning?”
We wondered how they make glass. Four of the workers showed us how.
First, they get a long, steel pipe and put it in a bowl with melted liquid glass. When it comes out, it looks like an orange. Then they place the glass on the bar and roll it on a metal table, which draws heat from the glass. Next, they roll it in a cherrywood bowl. Then they roll it in wet newspaper before putting it in a mold. Finally, they put the project in a room-temperature oven.
Tom Philabaum is the owner of the studio. He was born in Toledo, Ohio, and graduated from Southern Illinois University in 1969. He has lived in Tucson since 1975 and received a degree from the University of Arizona in 1983.
At the time of our visit, Philabaum was working on a project for the Tucson International Airport. He was making 30 glass flying carpets to hang from biggest to smallest. The creation is called “Another Way to Fly.” We all thought that hanging magic carpets in the airport is a good idea because it signifies flying.
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