Drew Ebelhare Makes a Weight

Rev. 2003-03-17, -08-30, 2008-01-15 (format)

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These pictures were taken in 1994 when Drew was in Houston. He has since moved his operation to the Northwest. I will use the present tense as if visiting the shop now.

The shop is a small one in a somewhat weather beaten small industrial area of western Houston. Because he works on a small scale, Drew has a pipe warmer, glory hole and small 2 pot crucible furnace in which he normally only melts clear Gabbert cullet and cobalt blue. Ebelhare hot wall
Drew makes millefiori weights, either very formal ones, which sell in the $350-700 price range or smaller informal ones which use the same cane, but in a scattered pattern. This is his basic marver set up. The marble slab is literally the source of the word marver from the Italian. He puts his color bits on the marble. The cup in the middle of the steel marver is one of the weight setup cups, another is on the hot plate at the bottom of the picture. Each cup is a ring with a matching disk having a machined groove to hold the ring in place. Ebelhare marver setup
The millefiori cane are set up at a work table in another room, carefully placed with long tweezers. (For a clearer picture of a setup, look on my paperweights page.) The glass is preheated to prevent it from shattering when the hot gather is applied. The larger aluminum disk collects the heat from the whole burner and protects the burner from dripped glass, which damages the elements. Weight setup on hot plate
After gathering the glass, on a pipe for the larger head, it is carefully shaped like a bullet, and applied to the back of the cane setup, centered and pressed to fill the cup. Picking the setup from the hot plate
Held over the marver, the glass stretches slightly, and narrows, allowing the ring to fall off. Releasing the pickup from the mold
At the bench, Drew begins the process of shaping the weight. The layer of cane in the bottom of the cup forms the light colored layer to the right of the hot glass in the picture. A water soaked wooden block is used to shape the glass. Several goals are in mind. The layer of color must be even across the disk and perpendicular to the pipe. The glass must be worked up and away from the end of the pipe so there is space to jack it off the pipe without distorting the color. Working the weight on the pipe.
A further gather of hot glass is worked over the weight, and then another. And then the glass below (nearer the pipe) is necked and worked down to shape the weight. Further working the weight
Small pieces showing the structure of a basket base. Small pieces showing the structure of a basket
Samples of Drew's weights, not including his most elaborate designs. Ebelhare weights from above
Examples of Drew's work in the less expensive works he does. One of his rediscoveries was a way to make the basket weights represented by the small one in the lower right corner, which is solid glass (not glued up) Ebelhare weights on display

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