Reality television certainly has its low points: randy twenty-somethings hooking up in the hot tub; grown people humiliating themselves for cash; Sanjaya on American Idol.
Despite the format’s reputation for racing to the bottom, it does work well to highlight higher pursuits. There are so many unusual and intriguing jobs and skills out there, and there is a deep satisfaction—and profound fascination—that comes from witnessing a master practice his craft.
Such is the case with this week’s edition of Myersvision, in which regular reader and contributor Audre Myers shares with us a show about the intense, difficult, beautiful craft of glass-blowing.
With that, here is Audre Myers’s review of the Netflix series Blown Away:
I am in love with blown glass art. Many years ago, I discovered Dale Chihuly. We in St. Pete are so very lucky to have a Chihuly installation – it is breath-taking. Some of his pieces look like they are alive; it’s quite a remarkable thing to see.
Because of my love of blown glass, I was amazed and delighted when Netflix offered the first season of Blown Away. I parked my posterior in front of my screen and only came up for air as needed. Blown Away is one of those competitions that you must watch closely in order to appreciate the level of talent involved in working with molten glass. There’s a young man black man who creates a hand – if you’re not watching you’ll miss him make an adjustment to a finger that is so subtle it looks like the finger moved on it’s own. You really have to see it on your own to appreciate it. I loved the competition but I will tell you ahead of time that person you think is going to win, wins. We could see it coming from a mile away. It’s annoying and predictable but don’t be put off by it.
Season two is an international affair with many of the glass artists coming from various countries. Brilliant talent. But it’s not just talent, there’s a physicality to what the glass blowers do, and the temperatures they subject themselves to can be damaging to their bodies. The need to create overcomes everything else. The kind of intimate detail they are able to attain with the super-hot glass is astounding. The artists are able to create things from silly and whimsical to the most elevated, exquisite pieces. This season has no ‘agenda’ and you’ll be on the edge of your seat as two of the competitors are neck and neck and the winner may surprise you.
There is also a Christmas Blown Away that was great fun. When it came down to the artists having to create a Christmas installation, there was one I would give my eye teeth to have in my home – stunningly beautiful and evocative.
Now season three has ‘dropped’, as they say. I just discovered it and so I’m off to enjoy every second of it.
I do so hope you’ll watch Blown Away – it’s art and sport and dance. I suspect if you give it a chance, you will be Blown Away.