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Portable Glassblowing Studio Heats Up Governors Island

GOVERNORS ISLAND — It's hot enough to melt glass on Governors Island this summer.

A portable studio from the Corning Museum of Glass is offering the public a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the art of glassblowing on the island every weekend in July.

The 28-foot-long, 35,000-pound GlassLab studio, which floated to Governors Island on a barge at the end of June, has furnaces that fire up to a toasty 2,100 degrees — hot enough to turn solid glass into a malleable liquid that can be fashioned into anything from an aquatic sculpture to a martini glass.

All month, the studio will host live demonstrations featuring professional glassblowers working with local artists and designers from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum's exhibit "Graphic Design — Now in Production."

The graphic designers, who do not have experience in glassblowing, bring their ideas to GlassLab, where the Corning Museum's blowers help them translate the drawings into molten glass.

"GlassLab provides designers with rare access to hot glassmaking processes, enabling them to experience firsthand the full potential of glass as a material for design — pushing the creative boundaries of both the designers and glassmakers," Robert Cassetti, creative director of the Corning Museum of Glass, said in a statement.

"The design sessions on Governors Island add an exciting new facet to GlassLab by engaging a group of leading graphic designers and allowing them to translate their visions into three dimensions."

Designers participating in GlassLab on Governors Island include 2x4 (Georgie Stout and Michael Rock), Inna Alesina, Peter Buchanan-Smith, Rodrigo Corral, Keetra Dean Dixon and JK Keller, Eric Ku, Chris + Dominic Leong, Abbot Miller, Mike Perry, Leon Ransmeier, Paul Sahre, James Victore, and David Weeks.

GlassLab will feature public glassblowing demonstrations next to Pershing Hall on Governors Island from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through July 29. Governors Island is accessible by ferry from Manhattan and Brooklyn.