Made in Kansas: Glass-blowing at More Than Lemons

Right across from the courthouse in Holton lies a relatively new art studio and glass-blowing shop, More Than Lemons. But there are all forms of art that are sold there from jewelry to 3-D artwork to various types of blown glass–ornaments, glass logs, bowls and more.

April Lemon decided a few years back that she didn’t love her job and wanted to pursue her life’s passion of working with glass. So, she got a degree in glass works from Emporia State and set up shop in her hometown of Holton, right on the Square.

“All of the artwork is made in Kansas and most of it within a 45 mile radius. Not 100% as we have a few a little farther out,” says Lemon.

Fast-forward two years and she and a team of glass artists are forging a path toward success, blowing away the customers with the quality of their work. I guess you can say they’re “kiln” it.

“It starts out a big vat of molten glass in the middle of the furnace that I gather up and while that’s clear then I actually roll in the color. It’s actually chunks of color, I cook that in and then we blow into the end of the pipe, pop a bubble and blow, shape and chill using different tools. It’s pretty much been the same for the last 2,000 years,” explained Lemon

So, April got to work showing me how she makes a glass wavy bowl. The glass is heated to a temperature of 2100° and will stay soft as it cools down outside the furnace down to a temperature of around 900°. Because it cools off so quickly in the air, there are only a few moments to work before it has to go back in the furnace.

Of course, this is glass blowing and the bowl shape comes from that bubble of air that is forced through the pipe. She even trusted me enough to let me have a turn trying the glass blowing.

After repeated rounds of stretching the glass into a bowl shape she then transfers it to another pole that will allow her to start opening up the bowl end of the glass.

However, getting the bowl to flare open is a rather tricky process that requires techniques perfected over the years in this time-tested art of glass blowing. When it’s all said and done, blown glass has a beautiful, delicate look that certainly earns itself a spot among the arts. It’s really a mix of manufacturing and artwork and you can experience it firsthand.

“On Saturdays, we actually do one-on-ones with individuals, but you can schedule an appointment, come in and then can make whatever they want,” added Lemon.

And quality time with Buddy the shop dog comes at no extra charge.

If you’re interested in learning more about More Than Lemons, follow them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/MorethanLemons/

– KSNT Storm Track Chief Meteorologist Matt Miller

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