DRESDEN — The large dial thermometer mounted high on the wall in the glass-blowing studio read almost 90 degrees, well above the cool 21 degrees outdoors.

The three furnaces at Tandem Glass Gallery and Studio on Eagle Lodge Lane heated the whole barn as Terrill and Charlie Jenkins and apprentices welcomed visitors and fellows artisans to a holiday event promoted by the Maine Crafts Association Saturday afternoon where much of the profit would be shared by the association and The Good Shepherd Food Bank.

As two performers from Steamboat Gypsy played music in one corner, Charlie Jenkins shaped and tweaked and reheated glass at the far end of a steel pipe, pausing occasionally to allow apprentice Carel Shonerd to blow briefly into the pipe.

Each time that happened, the glass bowl grew larger.

“You do as much as you can with the furnace heat,” Terrill Jenkins said. “It’s all about working as fast as you can.”

An audience of dozens, munching snacks and snapping photos, watched the pair work seamlessly.

“It’s a nice day for a drive to see something I’ve only seen on TV,” said Jan Byrnes of Bath, standing next to her husband Rick. “It’s beautifully choreographed.”

Jenkins gently placed the glass on a metal table, turning it round and round.

“It’s like when you’re making taffy,” Jan Byrnes said. “You keep turning it round and round so it doesn’t drip.”

In some of the demonstration, molten glass dripped into pools on the floor next to a large cookie sheet metal tray peppered with broken, multicolored glass.

Neither of the glassblowers used gloves to hold the rods. Terrill Jenkins said glassblowers find ways to shield themselves and each other from the heat when they work around the large furnace, which keeps the molten glass a toasty 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Jenkins have been working with glass for 20 years, and came to Dresden 10 years ago. They began hosting the holiday event in 2011. Last year, it raised about $1,000 for the food bank, Charlie Jenkins said.

At one point Saturday, a glass fell off a table in the studio and shattered on the concrete floor.

“It’s OK.” Charlie Jenkins said. “It’s just glass.”

Debra James of Kennebunk came with her camera to photograph the action. “I am so in love with glass,” she said. “It’s magic. It’s really magic.” On Saturday she was going home with a large multicolored glass she had purchased.

Charlie Jenkins sat and chatted with some visitors and old friends as Shonerd and another apprentice, David Mackeown worked on making a glass cup starting with a bit of crystal gathered from the pool of molten glass inside the large furnace before beginning the intricate, delicate dance of turning and shaping.

As Shonerd occasionally swung the steel rod in an arc over his head, the liquid glass stretched.

Jenkins pointed to the nearby cannes — super condensed, pigmented glass — stored on shelves in the studio until needed to create the colors to decorate the glass.

He particularly likes to make space pitchers decorated with ribbons of color. Terrill Jenkins likes to make slinky vases, a delicate process where the blown glass looks like tubes collapsing.

When summer arrives, the kilns are turned off, and the Jenkins focus their attention on sales.

Tim Christensen, a potter, whose studio is in Roque Bluffs, brought his black and white illustrated porcelain to Saturday’s event, something he’s done for the past five years.

“I’ve known Charlie and Terrill for a long time, and it’s a great cause,” Christensen said. “Fantastic people come every year.” He’s seen the attendance increase each year. “It has all the things that I look for in a show, good music and good food, ” he said.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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