real doctors, real people — James Howard

Wed, Mar 2, 2011 — Dr. James Howard, a neurologist at UNC for 33 years, picked up glass blowing after his wife gave him a free class to try it out. Ever since, he's been spending his Saturdays and Sundays in front of two, 2,000-degree ovens.

real doctors, real people — James Howard click to enlarge James Howard, MD

Written by Nathan Clendenin for UNC Health Care

I'm a visual person, and before I actually experience something for the first time, I always get a mental image of what I think it will be like. I have to admit that, having never seen glass blowing before this month's video, I didn't have very high expectations. I guess my mind got stuck on the idea of blowing, and that just doesn't seem very visual to me.

Well, I couldn't have been more wrong, which I found out on a beautiful Saturday morning, after a leisurely drive through Chatham County over rolling hills and pastures. Arriving at the barn, now converted into Resnik Thermal Lab, I couldn't even take two steps before seeing a beautiful portrait of the place before me with sunlight streaming down through the trees. Then I discovered the horses and donkeys out back, which apparently are known to stick their heads into the shop to give their snort of approval on occasion.

Dr. James Howard, a neurologist at UNC for 33 years, picked up glass blowing after his wife gave him a free class to try it out. Ever since, he's been spending his Saturdays and Sundays in front of two, 2,000-degree ovens, at least when it's cool enough outside to warrant all that heat inside. The studio is closed during the summers, since even in January it can get up to 120 degrees inside the barn.

Why is it so hot you might wonder? Well, you'll have to see for yourself how glass is shaped and formed into something both useful and beautiful. Check out this month's real doctor, real person.

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