Residents of East Falls got the opportunity to embrace the changing seasons at a specialized event organized by East Falls Glassworks this weekend.
Sunday’s Create Your Own Glass Pumpkins event, organized as one part of the East Falls Fall Festival, drew many local residents to the Glassworks shop to blow versions of everyone’s favorite orange squash, although the final products ended up as an assortment of non-orange tones.
“Glass is a really fun material no matter how much skill you have with it,” said Nikolaj Christensen, the general manager of East Falls Glassworks. “It’s a really challenging material. It’s always exciting to work with, it’s always moving… so it’s kind of something that can be kind of easy and fun but it’s also something that can just be a workout, too.”
Through a process that involves repeatedly inserting a punty, or an iron rod, into a scorching oven, shaping the glass with molds, newspapers, and paddles, and then sealing off the artwork with a molten glass “stem,” participants created an array of pumpkin-esque glass sculptures. The multi-colored glass gourds sat in the shop’s ovens overnight to cool off, to be picked up and taken home later.
“I love watching people,” said Jenna Efrein, an East Falls Glassworks instructor since 2009. “They get addicted to this material and this process.”
Efrein also teaches glass blowing at Rowan University and Salem Community College, but she speaks most highly of her time with the East Falls Glassworks team.
“I love working with glass, actually, probably because of the community,” she began. “The people that I work with, my other colleagues, I really enjoy their company. We’re community oriented and minded. It’s always about helping each other out.”
The East Falls Glassworks is regularly open for glassblowing classes, accessible to those with all types of experience. Located at Sherman Mills in East Falls, the shop is available for people who, as Nikolaj puts it, are looking for a one-time, “experience of a lifetime,” or any locals that get addicted to working with the material.