Blown Away on Netflix Will Inspire You to Visit the Corning Museum of Glass
April 20, 2021
Admit it. You have a soft spot for competition shows on television. We all do! That’s because there’s a competition that appeals to everyone of us. Singers, dancers, tattoo artists, fashion designers, interior decorators, models, bakers, chefs… What’s not to love about seeing the best of the best compete against each other? And my latest reality competition obsession? Blown Away on Netflix. It’s SO COOL! Keep reading to learn why it stands out from the rest and how it’s connected to the Corning Museum of Glass in New York.
Each season of Blown Away has brought together 10 blown glass artists to compete against each other. The grand prize? A residency at the Corning Museum of Glass! That’s right – the show has a huge connection to Upstate New York. And while I had visited the museum as a young Girl Scout and then again as an adult, my husband had never been. But after binging two seasons of incredible glass blowing, we celebrated our latest wedding anniversary with a trip to Corning.
Blown Away on Netflix
Whether or not you know anything about glass blowing, you’ll be hooked by Blown Away. Plus, it’s incredible to learn so much about the process. Watching the artists create their designs to meet each week’s challenge is the best part. Each contender brought a different perspective, experience, and skillset to the competition.
As you make your way through the two seasons, you’ll learn about different coloring and design techniques along with glassblowing vocabulary. No matter what skills the gaffers use, it’s all so impressive!
Season 1 featured 10 American artists competing through challenges like Potluck Party, Thirsty Work, and Body Parts. The second season took an international turn and invited artists from around the world. I quickly fell in love with several of them! Most notably Nao Yamamoto, Cat Burns, and Elliot Walker. Both seasons ended with a “Best in Blow” where the two finalists created pieces for their own gallery exhibit.
Blown Away Exhibit at The Corning Museum of Glass
The grand prize for each season of Blown Away includes a residency at The Corning Museum of Glass. With the popularity of the Netflix show, the museum currently has an exhibit featuring work from season 2. One piece from each of the ten artists is on display, including Cat’s vacuum, Nao’s centerpiece, and Elliot’s spilled milk.
The exhibit will be on display until January 2022, so be sure to plan your trip to Corning this year to see the pieces! There are also many pieces by the Blown Away artists for sale in the gift shop.
Visit the Corning Museum of Glass
Where is the Corning Museum of Glass?
The museum is located in the city of Corning, just north of the Pennsylvania border. Corning is about 2 hours southeast of Syracuse, 1 hour south of Penn Yan. The are plenty of great restaurants and shopping in the downtown Gaffer District, aptly named after glassblowers. Nearby towns of Horseheads and Elmira are also great for exploring.
Corning Museum of Glass Hours & Tickets
The museum is open daily from 9-5. The standard ticket price for adults is $20, and is valid for two consecutive days. For 2021, advance reservations online are required.
Are there discount tickets for the Corning Museum of Glass? Yes!
Kids 17 and under are always FREE.
College students, veterans, and seniors over 62 pay $17.
Local residents pay only $10 with proof of residence, and can bring up to 2 guests at the $10 rate.
The history of the Corning Museum of Glass actually starts back in the 1800s in Brooklyn, New York. Elias Hungerford was based in Corning, but partnered with the Houghton family who had a glass company in Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Flint Glass Company moved to Corning in 1868 and became Corning Glass Works. Why? The cost of labor in Corning was much cheaper than in New York City. Plus, the canal and railroad network provided better access to glassmaking supplies.
Over time, Corning became the epicenter of glass research, attracting professional glassmakers from around the world. Because of this, Corning has developed the nickname “Crystal City”.
The Corning Museum of Glass was established in 1951 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the original company.
Corning Museum of Glass Exhibits
The museum is filled with every aspect of glassmaking throughout history. Every style, period, geographic region is on display. Pieces made for form, others for function, some for both. Here are just a few of the incredible exhibits:
Contemporary Glass Galleries
One of the first galleries you’ll walk through is the contemporary exhibit, featuring a rotating collection of new and noteworthy creations from glassmakers around the world. Many of the pieces are striking – incorporating light and shadow, motion, music, and other mediums to deliver their messages.
Dish It! Corelle at 50
Admit it. Your parents and your grandparents had their own collections of Corelle dishes and baking supplies. I know mine did! I can look at the different patterns and state which family member had each design! This year Corelle is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and the exhibit celebrates the various designs over time. Plus, you’ll learn more about how Corelle dishes are made and what makes them so durable and popular.
35 Centuries of Glass
Yes. 35 centuries. There is so much history in glass! One of the main permanent exhibits portrays exactly that. You can walk through exhibits from various regions around the world and learn about their importance throughout history.
If you’re bringing the kids along, this is the spot they’ll love the most! The innovative exhibits showcase how glass is used in various technologies. And there are plenty of interactive opportunities to check out how things work! Explore concepts like concavity, optics, and other scientific uses for glass.
Glass Making Demos
While visiting the museum, there are several glassmaking demonstrations to watch. There are two hot shops within the museum: the amphitheater and the innovation hot shops. Each of them offer demonstrations roughly every hour. Be sure to check the daily schedule and arrive at the hot shop before the next demonstration! They do hit capacity for seating, especially during social distancing.
Additionally, the innovation center has a flameworking station where glassmakers demonstrate the intricate work throughout the day.
Occasionally there are special demonstrations – like when the glassmakers create a piece that was designed by one of the kids in the audience!
One of the best parts of the Corning Museum of Glass is that it is so interactive! Apart from the technology exhibit and glassblowing demonstrations, there is the glassmaking studio. Here guests can reserve a slot in one of several workshops that are offered: glassblowing, glass fusing, or sandblasting. All of the workshops last between 20 and 40 minutes. Reservations are recommended.
Sandblasting is the most budget-friendly workshop – and the only one where you can take your artwork home with you that day! The cost of the workshop is just $14. You can choose either a drinking glass or a glass plate. Then, cover the surface with stickers, creating whatever design you’d like. There are letters, strips, shapes of all kinds, and scissors to allow you to create your own shapes.
Once the stickers are to your liking, you’ll bring the glass or dish over to the sandblasting machine. A worker will help you place your item inside while you put your hands into the gloves. Step on the pedal to blast the sand to etch the glass! When you’ve completely blasted the surface, you’ll return to your table to remove the stickers. And voila! You have your own custom-made glass or dish to take home.
If you’re antsy to test out the glassblowing you’ve obsessed over on Blown Away, this is the workshop for you. For $33 you’ll be able to choose from a sculpture, ornament, or seasonal item. While the glassblower in the workshop will be doing most of the work, you’ll get to help out and make decisions throughout the process. Don’t worry, you’ll be up close and personal through the whole workshop! Watch the glassmaker gather glass from the furnace, add color, and shape your piece.
To start, choose which color(s) and shape you want! Because of safety precautions, guests can no longer blow directly into the pipe. Now, visitors step on a pedal to add air inside the glass bubble. Once the piece is done, the glassblower will put it in the annealer to cool slowly overnight. You’ll need to return the next day to be pick it up, or pay to have it shipped to you.
Shout out to glassmaker Irene who helped my husband and I create our pieces! She was super friendly and answered all our questions during our visit to the studio.
If you’re looking to try out a different technique, consider the fusing workshops. For $23 – $33, visitors over the age of 4 can use small pieces of colored glass to create a variety of objects. Choose from a frame, clock, sun catcher, nightlight, and more! Like the blown glass sculptures, the fused glass pieces will need to be put into the kiln overnight. That means you will need to return to pick up for work or pay to have it shipped to you.
Typically, flame working workshops are also offered to guests. Flamework lets you create more intricate work, so you can chose to make a pendant or a bead. Unfortunately, due to health and safety protocols for the pandemic, flame working workshops are currently unavailable.
Leave time for the gift shop!
I know, I know. Some people could do without museum gift shops. Not me! But seriously, the Corning glass gift shop is incredible. It’s a shop meets a gallery. There are items for everybody – all interests, ages, budgets… Definitely check out the Corelle shop too. It is the BEST place to stock up on your dishes and bakeware – at a discount!
The Corning Museum of Glass is a must for any bucket list
There is so much to do and see at the Corning Museum of Glass – you’d be surprised! So plan your trip to Corning and visit for yourself. Then binge Blown Away to get excited about your upcoming trip.
Have you visited Corning? Tell me your favorite part in the comments! Better yet, let me know who your favorite Blown Away contestant was.