Weekly Wringer 2: Glass

How is glass made?

To be honest, this one is not really a weekly wringer. It’s more like a monthly one.

Well, I have been teaching the Penguin and the Panther not to believe everything they see on TV or online. With emphasis on commercials. But I was hoping they would at least continue believing me.

The Panther can’t really accept glass is made out of sand. She has been asking about it over and over, for five weeks now. I guess she’s hoping I’ll give her the  true answer if she persists.

The Penguin’s scepticism doesn’t help. He seems to think melting sand must be some kind of magic trick. He needs to figure out the details first.

Which temperature do you need? How do you get that kind of temperature? How can you still get close enough to make glass without getting burned to ashes? Can all people learn how to do it? How come the glass doesn’t break into pieces of sand when it cools down?

I could have googled it all, but about ten days ago, I learned about the GlazenHuisThe House of Glass. There are glass art exhibitions, microscopes to look at sand structures and a real glass blowers’ studio. It’s even located not too far from where we live. Excellent!

I admit I was slightly hesitant to take them. In Flemish we have a saying. When someone is being inconsiderate and hare-brained, we say he is acting like an elephant in a porcelain shop. I was sure we would introduce a new dimension to the saying. Taking a less than obedient four-year old to an exhibition where everything is made out of glass, could turn out worse than the elephant, for sure. I could already see the path of destruction my Panther would leave behind.

Today I finally felt up to it. The sun was shining. Outside finally felt like winter. And the kids both were so unbearable yesterday, they couldn’t possibly be worse today.

We first had a strict talk about not needing a strict talk at the exhibition. And certainly not after been kicked out.

No running, no touching, no screaming – you never know, maybe there’s crystal -, no outbursts and no strife. We agreed the hottest thing at the Glazenhuis would be the glass blowers’ oven. Not their temper.

Before we entered, we hugged and I whispered my new strategic mantra into the Panther’s ear: ‘I know you can do it!’.

And she did! They both did! They were amazing!

They were ecstatic about climbing the glass tower, all the way to the top. Without even touching the glass windows.

We saw a collection of sand from all over the world. The Panther tried to smell the samples that came from Ethiopia, through their glass tubes.

They looked through the window of the studio with such radiant obedience and cuteness, hands behind their backs, that we were invited inside. The heat of the oven left them in awe.

I even had to convince them to walk the glass tiles that were meant to be walked. Are you sure it is not forbidden mom?

After that one, the glassy grass required keeping the Panther veeeeeery close.

It nearly gave me a heart attack. I tell you, the artist who hung that swing is taking a huge risk.


To be short, it was a success!

On the way home, they talked about the heat of the oven that was like the sun. About the tempting swing above the glassy grass, again. And about the glass-made toothbrush holders I refused to buy them.

It was almost perfect.


The Panther just had to ask one more question.

Now, mom.

How is glass really made?


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