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Bottle museum holds flameworking glass class

"Bubbling can happen when the temperatures fluctuate," said Moeller.

"There's also a process to cool the pieces after they're completed by placing them in a device that brings it to a single temperature and then steadily cools the glass. It's a very careful process and cracking is a danger."

Trained as a scientific glassblower, Prasch has earned an international reputation as a gifted glass artist and talented instructor. Her work is featured in books on "Art Glass" including "Formed of Fire" by Bandhu S. Dunham, and in many major art glass magazines such as "Glass Line," and "Flow." She has achieved special awards including the Kimble Award for Excellence in Glassblowing, and the Corning International Glass Music Award for Outstanding Performance.

Over the years, Prasch has been the glass instructor at several universities, and has held flameworking classes at major studios throughout the United States and in countries around the world including Tuscany, Italy, Ireland, and Japan. She maintains a studio in Montague, Mass., and holds the position of scientific glassblower at Syracuse University.

The National Bottle Museum is a nonprofit educational institution chartered by the Regents of the New York State Department of Education. The museum's mission is to preserve the history of the nation's first major industry, bottle making. Millions of glass bottles per year were manufactured by hand for the mineral waters of Saratoga County alone, nudging the county to participate in world commerce during the early 1800s. A glassworks company near the town of Greenfield employed hundreds of workers and glassblowers from the 1840s to the 1860s. During this time, the bottles were all manufactured exclusively with hand tools and lung power.

The museum, however, is run on a shoestring budget made up of some grant funding, donations and its membership, which includes people from all but two of the United States. Budget constraints and the rising costs of fuel have forced glassblowing classes to be cut back significantly.

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